Unions Unite To Tackle Plans To Overhaul Worker Compensation Scheme

Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) members today braved the rain to march with almost 7000 brothers and sisters of the union movement on state parliament to demand the government drop plans to overhaul the worker compensation scheme.

Unions fear the reforms will lead to injured workers having their benefits slashed, such as medical expenses and protections when traveling to and from work. 

MUA Sydney branch secretary, Paul McAleer said unions are prepared for a fight: 

"All we're trying to do here is to tell Barry O'Farrell that this is the start of a campaign to make sure his laws don't significantly impact on workers, their families and the communities in which they live," Mr McAleer said.

"The message to Barry O'Farrell is clear. We will not sit idly by and allow blatant abuses and injustices to proceed."  

"Despite the bad weather today's rally was attended by activists from across the political spectrum, keen to send a message" added Mr McAleer.

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell said the government had to take into account that the existing WorkCover scheme - and a $4.1 billion deficit - had to be reined in. 

"What I'm saying to workers across the state is the best protection any government can provide them with is a sustainable scheme," he told reporters in Sydney's west earlier on Wednesday. 

The rally was well attended by MUA members (from Sydney, Newcastle and Port Kembla branches) and other union comrades and community supporters.

Speakers at the rally also included members from the Fire Brigade Employees Union (FBEU) and members from the Nurses Association.

Unions and community activists have pledged their support and have refused to rule out more industrial action.