Your safety in Public Trusts
Your delegates called for and the PTO agreed to, an extraordinary PTO Agency Consultative Committee on the impact of COVID-19 restrictions and safety and what it means for union members. This meeting occurred by teleconference on Friday 27 March at 2:00pm.
The only agenda item was understandably COVID-19 and rights and protections for union members during this time.
Of course, everyone acknowledges that the issues and responses from government are changing daily, but this is where we are at with the issues specific to PTO that were raised by your union delegates on behalf of union members. (please note:the minutes of the meeting are yet to be finalised and endorsed but you can see the notes from the meeting below of the issues raised by union committee members and the response of PTO management.)
- Working from home: PTO reports they are purchasing 400 extra 'licences' to be rolled out ASAP. No specific date of when these purchases will happen was given at the ACC; however we are happy to report that the PTO says this happened over the weekend just gone. PTO will try to roll this out as quickly as possible and priority will be given to those staff who meet the criteria for being 'at-risk.'
- Hand sanitiser: PTO advises they have a order due to arrive sometime late in April 2020.
- Attendance by the public at the PTO workplaces has significantly been reduced by face-to-face wills no longer being conducted. Delegates raised the issues around 'walk-ins' and expressed the importance of a proactive approach to phone contact with members of the public attending the offices to have documents witnessed.
- Social distancing: PTO's response in this regard for more than a little disappointing. While technically correct in saying that the 1.5 metre social distancing did not apply in the workplace, a more proactive approach would have been expected. Delegates raised concerns regarding the lack of social distancing instructions for clients in offices with particular concern of the lack of marking displayed on the floors in reception areas. The request from staff to take a proactive approach in installing markers was rejected by the PTO until the ELT approved or otherwise. Together expressed bewilderment at this and advised that we would recommend members take the issue into their own hands. Since the meeting we are please to announce the ELT has approved that social distancing markings be put in PTO reception areas.
- The issue of security at 444 Queen St was also raised given some entrances being chocked open. While it is completely understandable that anything introduced to reduce viruses transmission is welcome, delegates are continuing to work to make sure that all contingencies to ensure members are safe as possible.
As part of making sure that members' health, safety and rights are met, Together has asked the PTO to respond on how it will adhere to this Directive and what impacts this will have on PTO staff. We will keep you informed of any developments but in the meantime you should not hesitate to contact myself or your local PTO workplace delegate.