Emma Maiden and Rita Mallia spoke at Women’s Conference.

Surplus 'from the pockets of injured workers'

Cuts to injured workers’ compensation have been so severe that within two years the NSW Government’s supposed $4 billion deficit has become a $1.6 billion surplus, Unions NSW Assistant Secretary Emma Maiden told Women’s Conference on May 17.

Ms Maiden said the surplus grows by $500 million every six months.

“That money is straight out of the pockets of injured workers and their families,” she said.

“At the same time as the injured workers have been cut off weekly payments and cut off from access to medical treatment, employers have been given a 12.5 per cent reduction in workers comp insurance premiums,” she added.

Workers compensation legislation is currently being reviewed by the State Government. Ms Maiden encouraged anyone with a story about the impact of the cuts to make a submission to the review. Visit www.australianunions.org.au/workers_compensation_review.

She promoted Unions NSW’s network of local union community councils (also known as community union alliances), based in more than 20 suburbs and towns around NSW. Union members or union-friendly people campaign together in their communities on local issues; these have included Gonski and TAFE cuts.

Campaigning on a broader level was also covered by Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union NSW branch Construction and General Division President Rita Mallia.

As an example, she said the CFMEU was working with the Australian Education Union’s TAFE division over TAFE funding cuts which affect teachers and apprentices.

Ms Mallia said the CFMEU was determined not to let hostility from the Federal Government and big business overwhelm or distract the CFMEU from its objective — to ensure the wages, conditions and workplace safety of members are not only maintained but enhanced.