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An Adelaide-wide stoppage by essential health workers will occur on Friday next week after a failure by the SA Government to listen to workers’ concerns about the introduction of parking and public transport fees.

“We have written to SA Health informing them of a stoppage at all major metropolitan hospitals in Adelaide,” United Workers Union Public Sector Co-ordinator Paul Blackmore said today.

“The fact that it has come to this marks a failure by the SA Government to understand the cost-of-living pressures facing some of South Australia’s lowest-paid workers.

“While fears about the impact of fees of up to $1300 a year appear to have been dismissed out of hand by the SA Government, you can be sure the fees are causing real fear and heartache among essential health workers.”

As part of the stoppage, United Workers Union members including Patient Services Assistants, Theatre Orderlies, Sterilisation Technicians, Cleaners and Food Services workers will walk off the job and gather at the SA Health headquarters to make their anger clear.

“SA Health is pushing ahead with this with zero consultation and with no sign they have listened to workers’ serious concerns,” Mr Blackmore said.

“When inflation is running at more than 6 per cent – with Adelaide experiencing the highest inflation in the most recent quarter – budgets are being squeezed and the imposition of fees of this magnitude is devastating.

“It’s also ridiculous that these measures were introduced to make hospitals run smoothly while workers faced Covid – and now South Australia is dealing with the largest Covid surge to date.”

Liz, a catering worker at Lyell McEwin hospital, said:

“Frontline workers deserve to go to work without having to worry about car parking fees so they can get on with the job of caring for patients.

“The impact on workers of these fees is huge. Everything is going up: groceries, bills, petrol, interest rates. These are the everyday things we need to pay just to live.

“The fees for parking mean we will also have to miss out on things we enjoy doing – taking grandkids out, the occasional dinner at a café, going for weekend drives.

“Not everyone lives next to a hospital, and public transport often isn’t available when we need to get to work.”