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Issue #1443      17 February 2010

Call to end Aust Post’s abuse through company doctors

The country’s peak postal and communications union, the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU), has called on a Senate inquiry to call an end to Australia Post’s mistreatment of injured workers through its abusive insistence on the use of company paid doctors.

“Australia Post workers are forced to visit a company doctor when they’re injured on the job – and more than nine times out of ten these workers are forced back to work,” said CEPU national president Ed Husic.

“What’s even more galling is that Australia Post gives managers pay bonuses on the basis of getting injured workers back to work quickly.

“This is a sick system – and the legal loophole that lets Australia Post get away with this must be closed.”

Mr Husic and other union representatives were giving evidence in Melbourne to the Senate Environment, Communications and the Arts References Committee Inquiry into the treatment of injured and ill workers at Australia Post.

“Today and over the last year we have impressed on government our real concerns about the lengths Australia Post will go to push injured employees back to work – all in the name of cutting their compensation costs.

“Even if you’ve been with a trusted doctor for 30 years you are forced to use the company doctor, who is instructed to get employees eligible for workers’ compensation straight back to work.”

Because the worker is sent back to their job early, Australia Post gets to record lower Lost Time Injury stats. This saves Australia Post money in compensation costs, remembering that Post is a long time self-insurer

These lower stats (and therefore lower costs) get used to justify pay bonuses for Post management.

Specifically what the union is asking the Senate Committee to put forward is that section 89 of the Australia Post Corporation Act to set up a workers’ compensation system be amended to ensure that if Australia Post accesses this legislative power it does so in a way that is consistent with workplace law – and that its employees will be better off as a overall as a result of the corporation utilizing section 89.

Next article –  Tongan crew paid $38 a day a disgrace: ITF

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