March 16, 2009
Australia Post denies its executives are being paid bonuses for reducing worker compensation costs.
And, it says, claims that doctors are being pressured to dismiss injury claims are a “slur” on the medical profession.
The Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) has accused Australia Post of rejecting claims from injured workers and unfairly preventing them from getting compensation.
CEPU NSW secretary Jim Metcher says Australia Post pressured doctors into writing medical reports dismissive of injury claims, while executives are getting bonuses for cutting compensation costs.
Australia Post said it ensures all staff injured at work have access to appropriate independent medical practitioners.
“The independent practitioners understand the business and endeavour to return the employee to work as soon as possible which is the worldwide basic rehabilitation principle,” Australia Post said in a statement.
“Many of these doctors are the employee’s own doctors.
“To suggest these medical practitioners used by Australia Post are anything but professional is a slur on the medical profession itself.”
The CEPU believes lucrative bonuses at Australia Post have led to a culture in which managers deny injured workers their entitlements.
“There are literally hundreds of people that are caught up in this,” Jim Metcher told reporters.
“It needs to stop now.”
The government needed to crack down on companies rewarding executives who slash injury management costs.
“Rewards and pay bonuses for executives who rort workers of their entitlements and personal safety is simply not on,” Mr Metcher said.
But Australia Post denies these claims.
“Australia Post executives are not paid bonuses for reducing their compensation costs and do not accept or deny compensation claims made by staff,” it said.
“It is important to remember Australia Post is regularly audited by two external organisations, including Comcare.”
It said employees could also choose to have their matter heard before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
One long-serving Australia Post employee Gail Seaton said she was diagnosed with a painful repetitive strain injury – epicondylitis – by her GP, but a company-appointed specialist subsequently denied the condition was still active.
She said Australia Post used the specialist’s evidence to deny her compensation claim and then forced her out of her job because she could not perform her duties.
As a result, she was forced to use all her sick and long service leave entitlements.
“It has caused me and my family a lot of hardship, a lot of stress, and it has been very sad,” Ms Seaton told reporters.
“I wish Australia Post would reconsider and send me back to work, take me back to work, because I want to go back to work.”
© 2012 AAP
Article source: news.smh.com.au