|Issue No 101||06 July 2001|
Checkout Operators Better Paid Than Aged Care Workers
The news that a Victorian Registered Nurse in Aged Care is being paid $200 an hour highlights the shamefully low pay of other Aged Care workers.
The Australian Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers' Union (LHMU) says a part-time adult checkout operator paid on the award 'Shops and Warehouse' on a Thursday night gets $14.88 per hour. A typical Aged Care worker earns $13.61 per hour.
"While you're doing the shopping on a Thursday night, secure in the knowledge that your loved one in an Aged Care facility is being looked after in a professional and caring manner, you should take note that the person scanning your groceries is earning more than the dedicated carer," Acting LHMU Secretary in WA Dave Kelly says.
"This is despite the fact that the carer may have done a nationally accredited certificate in their own time and at their own expense; or they may have years and years of valuable experience in the aged care sector."
Mr Kelly said that it was only the dedication of staff which kept Aged Care facilities going. "Nobody becomes an Aged Care worker for the money," he said. "Our members tell us they do the job because it's very important, and they feel a sense of dedication to the people in their care.
"We are not asking for them to be paid $200 an hour - simply for their value to be recognised with a decent rate of pay, and adequate funding from the Federal Government to enable them to do their jobs without stress, job security and safety issues making their lives a misery."
Aged Care workers and community members in the South West will attend a Public Rally in Bunbury this Saturday. Aged care is a major issue in Bunbury, with a chronic bed shortage, and the dispute over Forrest Lodge - a brand new $7m facility standing empty for the third month running.
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