Thousands to rally in defence of injured workers' rights
13 June, 2012 - 08:30 Anonymous
Workers from across the state will turn out in their thousands today to protest against the O’Farrell Government’s attack on hard-won workers compensation rights and entitlements.
The government’s proposed changes include workers losing protection on their way to and from work, the capping of medical expenses and Compensation being cut off after two-and-a-half years, regardless of the condition of the victim.
Workers spanning industries across the state’s economy are appalled at the unnecessary attack on their working rights and will ensure their voices are heard in Sydney, Wollongong, Newcastle and major regional centres.
Unions NSW Secretary Mark Lennon said the O’Farrell Government had badly misjudged the cuts to WorkCover and should now stop using injured workers as a soft target.
“This NSW Government has got it badly wrong on this issue,” Mr Lennon said.
“This government’s proposed changes would increase the risk every worker in this state has to deal with each day. They are saying that not only should NSW workers accept a higher risk of workplace injury than other states, but they should accept a drastically reduced safety net into the bargain.
“The government’s justification for these changes - the alleged crisis in the scheme - has been vastly overstated. However, if reforms need to be made the government should not be looking to do so at the expense of workers’ benefits.
“Any reform should firstly look at the failure of insurance companies to properly administer the scheme, and secondly the failure of employers in assisting injured workers to return to work.
“Barry O’Farrell and his government are completely out of step with the people of NSW on this issue. We know that 67 per cent of people are opposed to these changes versus just 23 per cent who are in favour.*
“For the last six weeks I have been talking to workers about these changes and the response has been overwhelming. It shouldn’t surprise - communities in NSW will always oppose attacks on the vulnerable and assaults on fairness.
“It’s what happened during the Your Rights At Work campaign, and it’s happening again now. Today’s demonstrations should serve as a potent symbol of that feeling.”
The parliamentary committee's report on WorkCover is due to be handed down today.