Parking rage – workers at 16 NSW hospitals to stop work for two hours

Health Services Union

Approximately 1,000 workers across 16 major hospitals will walk off the job for two hours on Thursday to protest an extortionate increase in parking fees that will leave some of them thousands of dollars out of pocket. Organised protests will happen at Westmead, Westmead Children’s, Concord, Liverpool and Campbelltown hospitals. Workers including psychologists, scientists, threatre technicians, kitchen staff, cleaners, security guards and others will walk out between Midday and 2pm. Workers at 11 other hospitals will also walk out at the same time. The HSU will hold a doorstop interview at Entrance 10, Westmead Health Precinct, Darcy Road, Westmead at 1230. Some hospitals are proposing fee increases of up to 127%. The HSU has been arguing since Jan 24 for a fairer deal for health workers, arguing fees should at least come back to the same rates as they were pre-Covid. “The great parking gouge must stop,” Lauren Hutchins, HSU Assistant Secretary said. “Managers love to mouth platitudes about health workers, but then sting them with sneaky taxes. It’s just not on. “With surging cost of living pressures, charging staff $2,600 to park at work is obscene and immoral. “Health workers across NSW sacrificed their own wellbeing to protect the community during the Covid-19 pandemic. This is a funny way to thank them for their sacrifice. “We have met with the Ministry of Health on three occasions to discuss our concerns but they have not budged on the new rates. Unless we see progress this campaign will ramp up.” Hospital staff parking was free during Covid-19 pandemic but from February workers with parking permits have been charged up to $27.20 per week, costing them about $1,300 a year if they park five days a week, 48 weeks a year. Staff who do not have a parking permit because they are still on a years-long waitlist to get one are charged up to $11 a day, costing them about $2,600 a year. Before Covid-19, parking was $12 a week for some workers with permits, meaning fees are more than doubling from only a few years ago. HSU members are calling on the hospital to maintain free parking for staff or, at the very least, not increase fees above the pre-Covid rate.

/Public Release.