Tuesday 25 June 2024

Contact 1800 772 679

Contact 1800 772 679

The magazine of the Public Service Association of NSW and the Community and Public Sector Union (NSW Branch)

After Hours Response Team Strikes

After Hours Response Team Strikes

Unsafe working conditions force on-call Child Protection workers to walk off the job.

The After Hours Response Team (AHRT) is a team within Communities and Justice that provides casework for urgent risk of significant harm referrals that require

intervention, and urgent requests for assistance. These reports are received as referrals from the Helpline. The AHRT works overnight and on weekends, including public holidays when Community Services Centres are closed. It is vital work for some of the state’s most at-risk children.

After two respected managers were stood down without notice in March, and a series of unfair changes made to operational arrangements that led to unsafe working conditions, a snap 24-hour strike from 4:30pm 23 April was called.

PSA General Secretary Stewart Little said chronic overwork, staff suspensions and unreasonable workplace directives urgently need to be addressed by the Department. “We’ve written to the Department, we’ve written to the Minister, we’ve been to the Industrial Relations Commission,” he said. “We’ve urged the Department to adjust its approach and get back to the table and negotiate constructively with staff.

“We’ve told anyone who will listen that this is a powder-keg situation and untenable.

“AHRT staff have had enough.”

The AHRT staff walked off the job twice with the full support and encouragement of the PSA.

The strike took place against the backdrop of the PSA’s Child Protection in Crisis campaign.

To read more on this campaign, go to Child Protection In Crisis: PSA Members Take Action

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