NURSES of the Bombala Health Service joined NSW Nurses Association members from hospitals and community health facilities across the state in voting to stop work on June 13 to protest against the government’s plan to reduce payments to injured workers.
Last Wednesday a group of Bombala nurses spoke with locals and made placards to spread the word on why they were taking strike action on the day.
NSWNA general secretary, Brett Holmes, explains that the many nurses who get injured at work are at great risk of long-term financial distress if the O’Farrell government is allowed to further reduce the payments made to NSW people injured at work.
“Hundreds of nurses and midwives, in public and private hospitals and aged care facilities, suffer serious injuries each year. These are not always high-profile injuries, but the ‘sprain and strain’ injuries nurses and midwives often suffer can cost them thousands in lost income under the current system,” Mr Holmes said.
“The O’Farrell government plan will make those losses even worse, because it is not uncommon for these types of injuries, especially if they involve the back, to go on for months.
“A preliminary assessment of the O’Farrell government plan indicates injured nurses and midwives could face at least a 20 per cent pay cut in the fourth month after their work injury.
“For a full-time experienced registered nurse in a public hospital that is a pay cut of nearly $300 per week if they are injured for more than 13 weeks. For a full-time assistant in nursing in an aged care facility that is a pay cut of nearly $150 per week.
“Nurses and midwives are also opposed to the government’s plans to abolish journey claims for shift workers like nurses and midwives, cap medical expenses and stop all payments after 130 weeks, which would throw seriously injured nurses and midwives onto the social security system.
“This attack on the financial security of injured NSW workers, in both the private and public sectors, comes on the back of the O’Farrell government’s attack last year on the industrial right of public hospital nurses and midwives.
“A civilised society is about balance and this government’s industrial and workers compensation policies are anything but that.
“The O’Farrell government clearly has little regard for the personal or family budgets of injured NSW workers,” Mr Holmes said.
Our local nurses added that if health workers were forced to leave the industry due to loss of payments when injured, this could only have a very negative impact on patients.