Health Services Union undertakes industrial action across 16 NSW hospitals as workers reach 'boiling point' over parking fee hike

Sky News, 29 February 2024

Public hospitals in NSW could be thrown into chaos on Thursday as 1,000 health workers walk off the job at 16 separate facilities in a fight against the state government's increase to parking fees. 

More than a dozen New South Wales hospitals will be hit by strike action on Thursday as workers walk off the job in protest of a spike in on-site parking fees.
Staff aligned with the state’s Health Services Union (HSU) will stop work for two hours starting 12pm at five Sydney hospitals and 11 other facilities across the state.

The midday protests will affect Campbelltown, Liverpool, Westmead, Westmead Children’s, and Concord hospitals as a workplace dispute over a vehicle parking proposal comes to a head.

About 1,000 HSU members will undertake the strike, ranging from scientists, psychologists, theatre technicians, kitchen workers, and staff from a range of other departments.

The union’s assistant secretary Lauren Hutchins said the increases to staff parking fees in public hospitals across Sydney were “just mean”.

“It’s the NSW government making workers pay the price for privatised hospital carparks. In what other workplace can you charge workers thousands of dollars for the privilege of coming to work?” she told

“The anger and frustration of HSU members is at boiling point. So today HSU members across 16 public hospitals will take part in industrial action, calling on the NSW government, NSW Health, and local hospital management, to roll back the increases, to sit down and talk through a fair parking plan that addresses fees, access, and staff safety. Pretty reasonable I reckon.” 

The protests aim to pushback on a proposed increase of up to 127 per cent in fees for staff parking on NSW hospitals.

Workers claim if the hike was to take effect, it would cost them thousands of dollars’ worth of losses during what is already a period of widespread financial hardship for households struggling under the cost of living crunch.

Under the fee hike, full-time hospital employees would have to pay between $1,300 to $2,600 more a year to drive to work on a five day a week basis.

Those with parking permits will bear a cost of $27.20 a week, a figure more than double what was charged before the COVID-19 pandemic at a rate of $12 a week.

Workers without an eligible permit – who the HSU says have been on a waitlist for years to get one – will be liable to pay as much as $11 a day or $55 a week after the price hikes.

The union threatened to continue staging rounds of industrial action and “ramp up” its campaign until the Ministry of Health took its concerns into consideration.

Similar strikes were held at Concord Hospital earlier in February with hundreds of workers walking off the job from the singular facility.

“Staff are not some cash pinata that can be belted for spare change. Hospital executives need to get real,” HSU secretary Gerard Hayes said at the time.