Health Services Union NSW

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$1000 No Way campaign goes off without a hitch

The campaign against rising parking fees in public hospitals is revving up with HSU members coming out in force to fight for a fair and just parking system.

Scores of members rallied outside Blacktown, Liverpool and Westmead Hospitals to launch the campaign after the state government revealed staff parking fees were to double at some sites by next year.

At Liverpool Hospital workers already pay more than $1000 a year for the privilege to park at work and that doesn’t even guarantee them a spot.

Technical Aide Stephanie Harvey

Technical Aide Stephanie Harvey says she has paid the equivalent of the cost of her car in parking fees from driving to work over the past seventeen years.

“If they are going to keep increasing the amount we pay for parking they must at least increase our wages in line with that,” she says.

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Speaking to the local media HSU Secretary Gerard Hayes said while it was reasonable to expect people to make some contribution towards the cost of parking, the rates were far too high.

“The state government believes $1000 dollars a year for parking at work is ok but our members and the majority of hospital visitors earn a fraction of a state government minister’s salary.

“We are calling on the government to give patients and hospital staff discounts and incentives to use public transport where it is available.”

The union has written to the Minister Jillian Skinner in an attempt to open up dialogue on the issue but at the time of writing has yet to receive a response.

You can stand with health workers to stop this government rip-off and express your support by emailing the Minister for Health office@skinner.minister.nsw.gov.au.

Expectant mother Sharri and her partner Eddie

Expectant mother Sharri and her partner Eddie have been in and out of Liverpool Hospital for the past eight months because of Sharri’s difficult pregnancy. They agree with the union’s campaign against the fees. Sharri’s waters broke prematurely but they were forced to park five blocks away to avoid the high parking fees.

“It’s bad enough that we have to pay so much to use the service but it’s just a disgrace that the workers who provide the service have to pay too. They come here to care for us and shouldn’t have to pay for the privilege. They should provide safe and affordable parking for their workers, especially the lower paid ones. Without those who do the lower paid roles the hospital could not function but they don’t seem to get the respect or recognition they deserve.”

Research Officer Joan Silk

Research Officer Joan Silk says she can’t afford to drive to work but wouldn’t bother any way because parking is impossible.

Members at Blacktown

Workers are now calling on the Health Minister, Jillian Skinner to ensure that safe, affordable parking is available to all hospital employees.

And now we want the community to get behind the campaign too.

We are all aware that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, hospital staff work tirelessly to provide our community with high quality care.

The HSU believes this is putting an unfair burden on already exhausted workers who are suffering from the NSW government’s mandated staff shortages, “reform and restructure” fatigue and strict salary caps.

You can stand with health workers to stop this government rip-off and express your support by emailing the Minister for Health office@skinner.minister.nsw.gov.au.