||Issue No. 176||02 May 2003|
Interview: Staying Alive
Bad Boss: The Ultimate Piss Off
Industrial: Last Drinks
National Focus: Around the States
Politics: Radical Surgery
Education: The Price of Missing Out
Legal: If At First You Don't Succeed
History: Massive Attack
Culture: What's Right
Review: If He Should Fall
Poetry: If I Were a Rich Man
Satire: IMF Ensures Iraq Institutes Market Based Looting
The Locker Room
Bob Gould Sprays Gerard Henderson
War and Peace
A Strange Light
A Little History
Does It Have To Be?
Burn Payout Highlights Compo Fears
Labor Council secretary John Robertson says the payout was one of the last under the system that existed before the Carr Government's changes to workers compensation that became law in 2001.
The two Integral Energy employees suffered the injuries following a massive electric shock in March 1999.
"Because the injuries were suffered before the Carr Government's changes became law, they were entitled to benefits under the previous system," Robertson said.
"Our legal advice is that if the injuries had been suffered today, neither worker would have launched a claim for common law damages, which are now so restrictive as to be unworkable.
"Instead they would have had to settle for the statutory scheme where benefits are capped and in some cases non existent.
Adrian Ware, who received $2,969,749 would only be entitled to receive lump sums of about $150,000.00 plus a small amount for workers compensation and payment of his medical and other expenses.
Alan Milson, who was awarded $1.035,000 would only be entitled to about $100,000 plus a small amount for workers compensation and payment of his medical expenses.
"These figures underline the severity of the 2001 cuts and exposes the Government's claim that no worker would be worse off as the spin it always was," Robertson says.
"This reinforces what we said at the time - the changes to workers compensation left injured workers substantially worse off."
Workers Gather to Remember Fallen Comrades
Meanwhile, A large band of unionists gathered together outside Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral to mark this year's International Day of Mourning on 28 April 2003.
The group, representing unions from across the state, used the occasion to remember the many people who lose their lives at work each year and to demand tougher measures on bosses whose negligence is found to be at the cause of fatalities.
Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance federal secretary Christopher Warren used the day to highlight the tragedy of the many journalist killings during the war on Iraq, saying their deaths were one of the most unjust forms of censorship.
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union's Gary Flynne said it was the "she'll be right" attitude that many had towards workplace safety that posed one of the greatest hazards. Some people lose the luxury of ever being able to say those words as a result, he said.
Meanwhile, Police Association president Ian Ball used the occasion to examine the untimely deaths of two police officers who recently lost their lives while on active duty, including Glen Machinelli who was shot while in pursuit of a person who had stolen a motor car.
Tim Ayres from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union said about 40 workers lost their lives every year in the industry. But he said rather than getting hung up on the horror of the statistic it was more important to look at the individual stories of the people whose lives had been lost. He said failed systems and inadequate management systems were most often to blame for the incidents and said the adequacy of current legislation also had to be examined. Ayres also echoed the sentiments of many in calling for a monument to be erected which would commemorate the lives of workers who had been killed.
Recent ILO figures show that two million workers around the world die from work-related accidents and diseases each year.
Based on Australian workers' compensation data, 319 Australian men and women died from accidents or exposure in the workplace in 2000-2001 and a further 71 died while travelling to or from work.
Mr Jerry Ellis, Chairman of the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission (NOHSC), adds that "these are just the reported fatalities and do not include those not covered by workers' compensation, such as the self-employed, and those who die from work-related diseases.
"Definitive statistics for deaths from work-related diseases are not yet available but the number of fatalities from injury and disease is estimated to be over two thousand each year."
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