Sharon shares her story below:

“I’d like to share a win we’ve had on controlled entry measures & COVID-safe plans in the Charlestown Service Centre.

Members raised concerns with us about the way controlled entry is being implemented with inconsistencies in applying COVID safety measures across in the Toronto and Charlestown Service Centres.

As the CPSU delegate and health and safety representative (HSR) for Charlestown Service Centre I worked with the HSR for Toronto, and together we raised concerns with the Agency’s health and safety team but were not satisfied with the response.

Using our HSR powers, we then sought the assistance of the CPSU Safety First team and secured a meeting with the Director of Work Health and Safety Delivery. Services Australia made a number of commitments at this meeting, but it took further efforts before they followed through.

We were frustrated about the delayed response to our concerns. At the same time the CPSU surveyed Service Centre members in lockdown areas.

  • 48% of respondents had concerns about how controlled entry was working
  • 45% reported not being given clear instructions about what to do if a customer presents without a mask.

The CPSU used the responses from our  Controlled Entry Report to make these recommendations:

  • that every site manager be supported to consult with HSRs and workers at the site regarding site specific adjustments and implementation of the national COVID site safety plan
  • that Services Australia address the lack of clear guidelines around what staff should be doing when a customer presented without a mask, and
  • to introduce measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and customer aggression for staff working at controlled entry points.

The win

After reviewing the CPSU report, Services Australia:

  • Conceded that national guidelines on COVID safety measures should be a minimum and each site should have a specific COVID safety plan.
  • Advised Service Centre managers should have received instructions to commence consultation with HSRs and staff on the development of their local COVID plan.
  • Committed to providing further advice on customers presenting without a mask, and customers who breach isolation/quarantine directions.

This change would not have been possible without us all working together.

We are now working with all CPSU delegates in Service Centres to initiate site-specific COVID safety plans and consultation at all sites.

I’m proud to share our experience and encourage other members and delegates to get involved. Sharing stories, celebrating our wins and learning from each other makes our union stronger.”

Sharon Jenkins, CPSU Delegate for Charlestown Service Centre