Office worker at their deskPhoto Lee Constable / Daily Mercury
Office worker at their deskPhoto Lee Constable / Daily Mercury Lee Constable

Unions forum hears horrific workers comp experiences

UNIONS NSW will hear from injured Clarence Valley workers about their entry back into the workforce after the Return to Work cuts went through in 2012.

Unions NSW assistant secretary Emma Maiden will chair a forum of injured workers at the South Grafton Ex-Servicemem's Club on Wednesday, August 17 as part of the Return to Work Inquiry.

"There are just so many stories out there and people are really hurting," Ms Maiden said.

"So far we've heard really horrifying stories from a number of workers who have been on the Central Coast, Newcastle and Sydney."

Ms Maiden said one of the biggest issues they have heard about are large employers who should know better.

"We're hearing about employers who are bullying doctors into changing work cover certificates and telling their employees to lie to their doctors about whether the injury happened at work," she said.

"We're also hearing about the financial and emotional impact of being injured and how every element of people's lives and their families lives are being affected.

"Have an employer turning their back on them and ... completely shutting them off that their friends at work could provide help.

"It's the system itself that is causing those injuries to be worse and causing people to consider suicide."

Ms Maiden added that while there is a Return to Work inspector, the area is not policed enough.

"The system says that employers have to provide suitable duties but also says it they aren't suitable they can be sacked after six months," she said.

"There is less of an incentive to get Return to Work rights because you aren't going to be facing the cost of these people working for years and years."

Ms Maiden said that the forum at the South Grafton Ex-Servicemen's club helps workers feel empowered.

"Someone is listening to them, their concerns and experiences of the workers comp system are going to be taken to the decision makers," she said.

"Were hoping that it will be a catalyst for change."

You can share your stories about returning to work next Wednesday from 9.30am by registering at

AUGUST 8: Workers will have the chance to say how living on insurance hand outs has ruined their lives at a union inquiry hearing at South Grafton.

The Unions NSW inquiry into the enduring impact of workers compensation will hold a hearing at the South Grafton Ex-Servicemen's Club on Wednesday, August 17.

It will feature first-hand accounts of how sick and injured workers have had their lives turned upside down.

A report released in June showed the Government had made very limited progress in returning sick and injured employees to work - one of the stated aims of the State Government's savage cuts to workers' compensation four years ago.

The Impact on Injured Workers of Changes to NSW Workers' Compensation by Macquarie University's Centre for Workforce Futures also discovered regular harassment and bullying among people trying to return to work, with little evidence of employer support during the recovery process

Unions NSW is touring 11 regional centres across the State to hear testimony and feedback about the impact of the workers compensation cuts.

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