NSW trade unions have vowed to continue campaigning against draconian new laws that slash the rights and entitlements of sick and injured workers. There has been an 11th hour amendment in which injured workers will no longer be able to claim their legal costs in WorkCover disputes even if they win.
The state government’s workers compensation cuts were passed by the NSW Parliament last week, with only minor amendments that fail to address the concerns of working people across the state.
“The O’Farrell government is plunging the state into industrial chaos. Until they end this war on working people further industrial action cannot be ruled out.”
Mr Lennon, said the government’s legislation was the catalyst for the firefighters’ action last week – the first such strike in 56 years. Their action has seen the government exclude them from the legislation (see below).
“Firefighters run into burning buildings when everyone else is running out. As a community we need to extend the best possible support to heroic frontline workers who put their life on the line every single day.
“Our campaign now intensifies – politically and industrially.”
The Premier’s claim that his attack on workers compensation is not retrospective shows that he does not understand the law he is introducing, Mr Lennon said.
The proposed act states very clearly at Schedule 12, clause 3: Except as provided by this part of the regulation, amendment made by the 2012 amending act extends to an injury received before the commencement of the amendment.
“This is cruel, retrospective legislation that pulls the rug from under sick and injured workers. We know of specific cases where grieving widows who were set to seek compensation for nervous shock will now be denied the right to even make a claim.”