On Tuesday your library delegates met to discuss what’s happening around the State and the next steps union members can take to look after themselves during the pandemic.

There’s heaps of good things going on, with members coming up with creative ways to deliver services while practising social distancing, and lots of libraries are keeping all staff, including casuals, employed.

Unfortunately, some employers are doing the wrong thing, with casuals losing work, threats to cut hours and terminations happening across the State. Your delegates have responded by organising member campaigns, recruiting members into the union, and taking employers to the Fair Work Commission. In the last two months, there has been unprecedented membership growth in libraries, because members are standing up to defend their jobs. 

Ways you can help other library members

Geelong Regional Library Corporation members are campaigning to get 50 casual members back to work, so far management has ignored calls from their employees to support these workers, they’re running a GoFundMe which you can support here: https://au.gofundme.com/f/support-outofwork-geelong-regional-library-staff

Maribyrnong Council has terminated 150 staff, around 30 of whom came from libraries and community centres. If you live in Maribyrnong (but don’t work for them) or know somebody who does, you can sign the petition to get them reinstated here: https://www.megaphone.org.au/petitions/reinstate-the-150-sacked-workers-at-maribyrnong

If you’d like to get involved, or offer extra support, get in touch with Austin at afabry@asuvictas.com.au

Reopening process

With the State Government now phasing down the lockdown, discussions about libraries reopening will be a huge issue in the coming weeks. Recently, Canberra opened up three libraries with limited services, which put time limits and numbers limits on patrons in the library.

The ASU is putting together a resource for delegates and Health and Safety Representatives so you can develop a comprehensive safety plan for reopening libraries. This resource will include information on consulting with management, and questions about what extra safety measures are needed for safe reopening. If you want to know more about this process, please get in touch with your local delegate.

Delegate resolution on the timing of reopening 

Following the recent survey about reopening, delegates passed the following motion at the meeting:

“The ASU library delegates demand that libraries should not reopen until the reproduction rate of the virus (R0) is below 1 for three consecutive weeks. Once this is achieved, libraries should only open with strict OHS measures in place (to be detailed in plan or other motion)”

This is a recommendation from your library delegates as the benchmark for reopening. If you have questions or concerns about this, please get in contact with your local delegate.

Delegates will be meeting again soon to discuss any changes in restrictions and the different campaigns. Until then, make sure you are letting your non-member colleagues know about all the work that your union representatives are doing by forwarding on this email.

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