Recent media, your CSYW EB, and returning to the workplace

Posted on June 2, 2020

QFCC Investigation

Child Safety in the media

On Friday afternoon, Minister Farmer announced an independent investigation into the two cases in the media, to be conducted by the Queensland Family and Child Commission.

Today has also seen the coronial inquest findings released into another high-profile case. Times like these are sad and fraught, and as Child Safety workers you feel this more so than many others.

We have written to Minister Farmer on the matter of this investigation and others (see here). Whatever the investigation finds, individuals should not be used as scapegoats for long-standing failures of the system. Any members involved in this process should remember that they have access to industrial advice, support and representation in matters such as these. We would also take this opportunity to remind members that you should contact your union office as soon as you receive any information regarding an investigation process, and do not agree to investigation interviews before speaking to your union industrial staff. Call us on 1800 177 244 or email yourunion@together.org.au if you have any questions or concerns.

It is always difficult for CSYW employees when specific cases are in the media, and the important work that you do in keeping children and families safe is so often not seen by the public. You do life-changing work with such limited resources. Thank you for the work that you do. Your union is with you.

If there is anything you would like to discuss, please remember that you can speak to your local delegate or organiser. Get in touch by emailing yourunion@together.org.au or by calling 1800 177 244.

Your EB

As you might have read in Tuesday’s email from Alex, there has been some movement towards certification of the Core and Department of Education EBs – but not, unfortunately, before further intervention from the state government. However, these EBs are now set down for their certification hearings the week after next.

As you might recall, your employer ballot (the step before certifying the agreement) was ‘paused’ in early April after the Premier’s comments regarding a pay freeze. We still have not seen a new government policy that speaks to this pay freeze, yet a number of EBs have been stalled due to these comments.

It isn’t good enough that your EB – which, let’s not forget, delegates started negotiating in May 2018 – is still waiting to be balloted and certified after this long.

Your Conference delegates endorsed seeking Minister Farmer’s intervention in addressing this matter, particularly around key issues of workload management and attraction and retention of CSYW staff. We will also be following up with the Department.

When we have a response, we will be back in touch with members to talk through your options and what direction you would like to move in. It is deeply frustrating that it has taken this long – you deserve better.

Expanded Spread of Hours

As you would have seen from the Chief HR Officer’s message on Monday, Together has reached an agreement with the Department for a temporary expanded spread of hours (5am-10pm). While the catalyst for this arrangement was largely based on parents supervising school-aged children at home, there may still be some employees who are seeking greater flexibility for other reasons during this time. The important thing to remember about these arrangements is that it is entirely at the employee’s election.

Apologies if Tuesday’s email caused any confusion – the Premier’s comments are out of step with the voluntary arrangements we have made with CSYW and other agencies, and there have been no central discussions about a whole of government arrangement.

If you have any questions about these arrangements, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Returning to the Workplace

With the new Public Health Directive, in force as of midday yesterday, there is no longer the directive that employees must work from home if it is practical to do so. However, that absolutely does not mean that workplaces can go ‘back to normal’ quickly. Social distancing must still be observed, as well as a range of other health and hygiene measures.

Delegates are continuing to meet with the Department on a weekly basis and have strongly emphasised that any return to the workplace must be done in a safe and planned way. We will work with the Department to ensure that returning to the workplace is done in a safe and steady way.

A number of members have found that they have been able to be even more productive, and achieve better outcomes, while working from home. We will be seeking that this isn’t lost while we transition to our ‘new normal’ – flexible working arrangements have proven to be not only workable, but highly effective.

If you have any questions or concerns relating to returning to the workplace, please do not hesitate to contact us on yourunion@together.org.au or by calling 1800 177 244. Your health, and that of your co-workers and the community, is the most important thing at work.

Thank you for the work that you do.

1800 177 244
members@together.org.au