The International Year of Health and Care Workers

  • Published March 9, 2021

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared 2021 the ‘International Year of Health and Care Workers’.

HSU members have remained on the frontlines throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and a little extra international recognition of our work is welcome. No matter what you do in the health, aged care and disability support sectors, you’ve been part of the response that kept our vulnerable safe.

HSU members are famous for putting our heads down and doing what needs to be done. Our work isn’t always glamourous and often we get on with it without expecting thanks or praise. Often our work can go unseen – but it shouldn’t go unnoticed. The COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on the work that we do, highlighting the heroic roles that all health and care workers play in everyday life. From aged care workers who care for our most vulnerable, to allied health professionals, pathology workers and cleaning staff, every health worker has contributed to the fight against infection and helped to keep our community safe.

The World Health Organisation has urged all Member States, International Financing Institutions, Global Health Initiatives, and partners to invest in our health workforce readiness, education and learning to manage the pandemic, maintain health services and prepare for a COVID-19 vaccine. This means an investment in all health workers. It is shameful that in 2020 the NSW Government, amidst a global pandemic, decided to implement a widespread wage freeze on all public sector workers, including health workers. 2021 is the Year of Health & Care Workers, but unfortunately it is also the year that HSU members, who remain on the frontlines of the COVID-19 recovery, will face wage cuts and continue to navigate outdated awards and conditions.

This year we have an opportunity to step up our efforts against the unfair wages policy and our outdated awards. This year, in 2021 we will fight the NSW Government – for more than just recognition – but for action. If you haven’t already endorsed our list of demands you can do so here:

Together, we can get this fixed. We have worked for too long and too hard to be treated as a budgetary burden. We deserve better conditions, we deserve a fair wage, and we deserve an industrial relations system that looks out for us
as workers. In union, we can do this together.
This is our year.