Members of the Australian Services Union who work in local government are stepping up and delivering the essential services communities need right now.

But some members of our union have been stood down or lost casual shifts.

There has never been any question about the commitment of members of our union to their communities. However, the current COVID-19 pandemic is really showing what local government employers are made of through the way staff are being treated.

There are some positive examples of councils stepping up and doing the right thing by workers

  • The City of Melbourne has made sure contractors who would normally have been stood down have been given alternative work to do, and casuals working in the area of arts and culture have been provided with income security through April by being redeployment and assured their jobs will be available beyond shut down.
  • Many libraries have successfully redeployed their staff to alternative duties and some such as those in the City of Maribyrnong are exploring adapting delivery of programs to online platforms.
  • Some rural councils, such as Hepburn Shire, have outdoor staff starting their day from home rather than a depot to provide a safe workplace for these workers while keeping them employed.

Bu shut downs and closed services have occurred in ways we would never have expected.

There have been several Councils where the ASU is representing members who have been stood down or who have not received recognition of their vulnerable health conditions.

We know that Health and Safety Representatives have not always been consulted as they should and that many casuals have not been provided with redeployment options.

Last week Branch Secretary Lisa Darmanin proactively wrote to every local government employer

about the measures they are taking to secure the safety of workers and the support they will provide to workers in the event they can no longer work.

You can download a copy of that letter here.

We are tracking responses from employers and will be congratulating those that are doing the right thing by their staff and strongly criticising employers who are not.

Unlike so many employers, the local government sector has the capacity to maintain its workforce and to continue to provide much needed services to their communities.

And the Australian Services Union has been determined to make sure as many members as possible continue working.  Along with your health and safety at work, it’s our highest priority.

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