There is a lot happening for union members around Australia and across the world right now! I hope that this update finds you and your loved ones doing well.
Transitioning back to workplaces
The health and safety of all our members is paramount. For the many CPSU members who have had to continue to attend the workplace to get their job done, we've been working very hard to ensure those workplaces are safe. Now the process of planning for a return to the workplace has commenced for employees who have been working from home.
CPSU representatives are working with employers to make sure that the process of transitioning workers who have been working remotely is done safely and sensibly. Your health and safety is the most important thing and if that can't be guaranteed, then employees who have been working from home should be able to continue to do so.
If you have concerns about what is happening in your workplace, please talk to your CPSU delegate or Health and Safety Representative, or contact our Member Service Centre on 1300 137 636.
Solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
Black Lives Matter protests are occurring across America and around the world, including Australia, calling for an end to violence and racism against black people.
As a union we will always support disenfranchised groups peacefully campaigning for justice and equality. In Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continue to have poorer health and education outcomes, higher incarceration rates and a lower life expectancy than non-Indigenous Australians.
CPSU members work directly in roles seeking to address some of these long-term issues. It is important that adequate long-term funding is secured in the future to assist in bridging the gap as well as real progress towards treaty and truth telling of our history.
This position is supported by the CPSU National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Caucus.
Cultural and linguistic diversity
Australia is becoming more culturally diverse, with estimates that more than two in five Australians are from culturally diverse backgrounds. The CPSU is committed to diversity and inclusion in all its form, including cultural and linguistic diversity (CALD) in our membership, delegate and representative structures. This includes the union's commitments to measuring and reporting CALD representation and improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
We want to create avenues for members of CALD backgrounds to play a more active representative role in shaping our advocacy on these issues and improving CALD representation in our union. If you're interested in having a say or hearing from fellow CALD members, please register your interest here.
At last, a welcome end to Robodebt (2016-2020)
Late last Friday, with the threat of a class action over their head, the Government finally announced the death of Robodebt. Robodebt targeted the most vulnerable in our communities, and now over 470,000 Australians will have their debts refunded up to $721m.
Our members working in Services Australia warned the system wouldn't work even before it was rolled out. We have always said that our members are the experts, they are on the frontline of this work every day. The agency and government should have been listening to the concerns and expertise of the frontline workers from the very beginning.
Our members in Services Australia are working harder than ever during the COVID-19 crisis, and this will add to their already increased workloads.
ICYMI: Huge win for members at Aboriginal Hostels Limited
Our members who work for Aboriginal Hostels Limited recently had a huge back pay win of nearly $2million.
After members had questions about their correct pay rates, members worked with the support of union representatives, to investigate not only their own pay, but also that of all APS1 employees and past employees. By raising the issue collectively, the members won reclassification to a higher pay rate and back pay totalling nearly $2million.
CPSU welcomes the decision by the new CEO. The recognition of the responsibility of these workers and the meaningful decision to improve their conditions shows positive changes to Aboriginal Hostels and is something we look forward to continuing in the future.
Noticeboard competition winners
Congratulations to Kyle, an ABS delegate in Melbourne, and Vicki, a Services Australia delegate from Ballarat, on winning the noticeboard competition. Your union t-shirts will be in the mail!
Kyle is working from home with his canine office mate Emilio (pictured). Kyle has created a union noticeboard in his home office, "The posters really have been a great morale boost for me and I'll keep adding to them for sure." Kyle has almost got Emilio over the line to becoming a CPSU pet member, and then they will have 100% union density on site.
Vicki is maintaining her workplace noticeboard while still going into work in Services Australia - and making sure it's colourful, eye catching and up to date so that members know the latest safety and union information.
Melissa Donnelly, National Secretary CPSU
P.S.This week we made a submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Australian Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As well as highlighting the incredible work undertaken by the federal public sector, we’ve also made the case for a strong well funded public sector with more secure jobs as essential to our national recovery. When the Senate Committee publishes the submission we will share it with members.