Working through a Pandemic?

  • Published September 1, 2020
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Dolly has been working in health for 45 years, she now works as a ward assistant in cancer services at RPA Hospital. She has a message for the NSW Government – drop the wages policy and keep free parking for health workers.

“This environment is exactly the wrong time for the government to freeze the wages of hard-working health professionals. As if the wages policy was not enough, now the government is refusing to pay out the 2.5% annual increase for our healthcare workers who are pulling us through this crisis. “Everything else goes up, you still have to pay your health insurance, your mortgage – I’m lucky, I don’t have kids but a lot of people I work with are doing it tough. Work of course has been challenging through the pandemic, beyond having to wear PPE at all times, there have been ward shortages that have affected workloads and these staff shortages have been affecting everyone. “There is a great deal of uncertainty for everyone right now. I find that I don’t know what I’ll be doing from one day to the next and there’s always the worry of coming into contact with a COVID-19 patient, I worry about bringing it home to my family members, it can be very stressful.

The NSW Government’s decision to freeze health workers wages during this health crisis has been absolutely astounding for workers like me. It feels like the NSW Government don’t care about us – 2.5% isn’t enough anyway, and now they are taking it away from us before they cut anything else. People are struggling. “One of the best decisions that the NSW Government made through this pandemic has been the free parking for health workers.

Right now, HSU members who fought so hard and for so long for this win are taking steps to ensure the government reverse this decision. “Health workers should not have to pay to get to and from work, to keep the community safe. My shift starts at 7:00am, but there are people that don’t have parking so I pick them up in the morning at 3:00am and we all drive in together and we go in together around 4:30am or quarter to 5, just to make sure that they can get to work safely. We need free parking at hospitals, I was so pleased when I heard about it – but we need it forever! “My message for other health workers is clear stay with the union, don’t drop out. That’s what the union is there to do – fight for everything you’ve got, because one day they will try and take it away from us and the longer we fight, the harder we fight. We’re a family – that’s what unions are, that’s why we need to stick together.”