The Australian Services Union is calling on the Commonwealth and NSW Governments to urgently provide support for essential disability services workers, including paid isolation leave, priority booster vaccinations and adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
A survey of 700 ASU members has found more than one in ten working in the NDIS have contracted COVID since November.
Acting Secretary Angus McFarland spoke to the Sydney Morning Herald and Business Insider about the crisis.
Missed the briefing? Catch up here on-demand or download our latest fact sheet here.
Acting Secretary Angus McFarland presents a briefing for ASU members working in the disability sector and answers your question about the COVID Omicron surge.
- The current COVID surge – what we know
- Risk management and prevention of COVID at work
- What if you are exposed to the virus – positive, or a close contact
- Supporting someone who is COVID positive
- How we are by your side
- Frequently asked questions
Australian Council of Trade Unions Secretary Sally McManus wrote to the Prime Minister, calling on him to convene an emergency meeting with union leaders representing essential workers to address the escalating national Omicron crisis.
The ACTU Secretary laid out a list of demands on behalf of workers, who continue to battle on the front lines of the fight against the virus. The ACTU has demanded:
1. Rapid Antigen Tests be made free and accessible for all Australians, as quickly as possible, with tests prioritised for frontline workers until current supply failures are resolved.
2. Paid Pandemic Leave be restored for workers who are close contacts with a work colleague, which was stripped from workers last week.
3. Workers be kept safe at work, including mask requirements to N95 or P2 standard, warning Scott Morrison that unions will fight any attempt to water down OHS laws.
4. The Morrison Government to restore income support for people who have been forced out of work and left without pay because of the onslaught Omicron, as well as financial assistance for businesses who have been devastated by the current outbreak.
The Federal Government must step up to make Rapid Antigen Tests free and accessible to all.
Far too many Australians are spending hours in massive testing queues or scrambling around multiple pharmacies looking for rapid testing kits.
Making rapid antigen tests free and accessible would take some pressure off our PCR testing capacity and family budgets.
The entire NSW Rail Network was officially shut down on December 20. 13,000 rail workers - and ASU members - walked off the job. The NSW Government is refusing workers' reasonable claims for safety and won't rule out privatisation. This has left workers with no choice but to strike, again.
The Australian Services Union NSW & ACT (Services) Branch is a progressive, active and growing union. We are committed to organising members to grow their union and win campaigns that make a real difference for workers and contribute to a fairer society. Examples of this include the landmark ASU Equal Pay campaign that won Equal Pay increases of between 23 and 45% for thousands of community and disability workers across Australia and the We Won’t Wait campaign for 10 days paid domestic violence leave for all workers.
Community and Disability Service Providers in NSW or the ACT who are providing paid isolation support for workers exposed to the virus at work (without having to use your annual or personal leave!):
We are proud to announce that the Delegate of the Year 2021 is Tim Neill!
ASU Members have been calling for action on domestic violence. We know domestic violence services are underfunded and understaffed. The current government has failed to take this seriously. Labor's announcement will make a difference.
The ASU is a signatory to an Open Letter to the Prime Minister from Equality Australia regarding the Religious Discrimination Bill.