Over 2000 Services Australia workers have written to Prime Minister Morrison and Minister Reynolds this morning pleading for more resources to help them do their jobs and keep them safe.
The letter thanks the Prime Minister and Minister Reynolds for recent statements of appreciation to the agency workforce. But it also calls on the government to take practical steps to assist its workforce and keep them safe.
Services Australia workers understand how critical the work they do is. They are fiercely committed to helping our communities and keeping services accessible for everyone. But to make sure they can continue to do this to the highest standard possible Services Australia workers need practical support from the government.
Right now, tens of thousands of workers are being forced to work from the office in COVID hotspot locations because there is just not enough equipment. Twenty months into the COVID19 pandemic, Services Australia only has 13,000 mobile phones available for its 34,000 strong directly employed workforce to work from home.
Service Australia workers ask the government to consider the following:
- 10,000 mobile phones and fast-tracked technical updates to ensure workers can work from home during lockdowns. This will ensure that staff in hot spot locations can help reduce the risk of community transmission.
- Priority access to age-appropriate vaccines for staff working directly with customers in Service Centres, especially in hotspots.
- Increasing the numbers of permanent staff to replace the 7,000 permanent jobs cut since 2013 (which have been replaced by insecure workers).
- Change your government’s wage policy so that our wages stop going backwards in real terms, as they have every year since 2013.
Quotes attributable to CPSU National President Alistair Waters:
“CPSU members have always been committed to serving the nation and community. The sheer volume of work they have been able to achieve over the last few weeks is a testament to that.
“Our members appreciate the well wishes and thanks for the Prime Minister, but they need extra resources as well. Over 7,000 permanent jobs have been cut from Services Australia since 2013 and the number of permanent jobs has continued to be cut through the COVID pandemic response.
“CPSU Services Australia members are working enormous hours to help the community, but the fact is they need the government to invest in infrastructure to help them do it safely. Twenty months into this pandemic and the government has not invested in enough equipment or resources to ensure one of its most critical workforces can assist the community from home.
“Services Australia only has 13,000 working from home phones but has over 34,000 staff and an additional seconded workforce. Due to a lack of equipment the agency is bringing thousands of workers in locked-down areas into offices for work that can be done at home. This is just not good enough, it put workers and their families at risk.
“The most vulnerable in our community rely on workers in Centrelink Services Centres. These workers are absolutely essential. The fact that these workers do not have priority access to age-appropriate vaccines is just staggering.”
MEDIA CONTACT: ALEX WEST 0427 359 316
Letter to Prime Minister can be read here.