WorkCover Action Escalates

By Labor Council of NSW

The NSW Labor Council's Workers Compensation Committee today announced the following industrial response to the Carr Government's proposal to introduce amendments to the workers compensation scheme into State Parliament this week.

* A peaceful picket of State Parliament which all staff and MPs will be asked to observe. Media with offices in the building will be exempted.

* An escalation of industrial action targeting revenue-raising across the State. This will include rail, bus, ferries and police fines and will apply from today.

* Ongoing lobbying of Labor MPs to honour their promise not to support changes to workers compensation that are not acceptable to the trade union movement.

* Development of alternative legislation to give affect to the agreement with Minister Della Bosca to be drafted by Labor Council's legal counsel, Jeff Shaw, QC.

Labor Council assistant secretary John Robertson said the trade unions had been forced to take the action after the Carr Government reneged on key undertakings on the form the legislation would take.

These include:

- proceeding with a US-style medical assessment scheme.

- breaking undertakings on the rights of injured workers to be legally represented.

- breaking undertakings on the independence of the new Workers Compensation Commission.

"We have spent the best part of the last two months negotiating with the government in good faith," Mr Robertson said.

"We are very disappointed that a Labor Government would introduce this type of legislation which reduces the rights of injured workers.

"We are even more disappointed that the Minister for Industrial relations has produced a Bill that will breaches key undertakings he made to trade unions during negotiations.

"This is not action that we take lightly, but we would be betraying our members if we allowed this legislation to proceed in its current form."

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