by GRACE JOHNSON
Hundreds of hospital workers in Sydney’s inner west have rallied against “extortionate” parking fees, costing workers thousands yearly.
Concord Hospital staff parking has been since Covid-19 but from February, prices will increase dramatically.
Mounting anger over the increase led to a mass meeting on Tuesday, which saw psychologists, scientists, theatre technicians, kitchen staff, cleaners and security guards gather to consider a half-day strike on Thursday.
The meeting was followed by a rally outside the hospital.
Health Services Union (HSU) Secretary Gerard Hayes said, “For workers on a modest income, forking out $2,600 to simply turn up at work is a ghastly imposition.”
“This is a bizarre way to thank the people who kept the community safe during the Covid-19 pandemic. Amid surging rents, mortgage interest rates and two-dollar per litre petrol, the last thing anyone needs is to be slapped with extortionate parking fees.”
“Staff are not some cash pinata that can be belted for spare change. Hospital executives need to get real.”
Concord Hospital staff parking has been free since the Covid-19 pandemic but from February, workers with parking permits will be charged $27.20 per week.
This works out to be $1,300 a year if they park five days a week, 48 weeks a year.
But hundreds of staff are still on a years-long waitlist to get a permit. Those who are still waiting will be charged $11 a day, adding up to about $2,600 a year.
Before Covid-19, parking was $12 a week for workers with permits, meaning fees are more than doubling from only a few years ago.
HSU members are calling on the hospital to not increase fees above the pre-Covid rate.