It’s going to be a tough road ahead for workers as we hurtle into the third wave of COVID-19.
In alarming news for all workers, Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly warned yesterday that COVID case numbers will soon surpass all previous peaks.
Australian Council of Trade Unions President Michele O’Neil called on employers to act on their obligation to consult and cooperate with workers about making work safe and healthy.
“Australia’s entire healthcare system will be compromised unless Covid cases are controlled by all employers stepping up and supporting the health and safety of their workers,” she said.
There are five ways in which your employer should be supporting you and your co-workers:
- Providing free RATs, regardless of whether you are working from home or in the workplace
- Allowing you to work from home where possible
- Supplying N95 masks for indoor workers
- Providing paid leave at full pay if you need to isolate (not just the $750 provided in the Federal Government’s Disaster Leave Payment)
- Ensuring proper ventilation and air purification indoors
If your employer isn’t taking those actions, then it’s worth having a chat to your Health and Safety Representative and seeking advice from your union.
The call on employers comes when the pressure on our healthcare system and healthcare workers has reached an unacceptable level.
O’Neil asked employers to do their bit in supporting healthcare workers who have been on the frontline battling the pandemic for almost three years.
“Working people have been doing their part to support health and social care workers and reduce the strain on the healthcare system since the start of the pandemic,” she said.
Australia’s entire healthcare system will be compromised unless Covid cases are controlled by all employers stepping up and supporting the health and safety of their workers.
Showing up at work shouldn’t mean putting yourself in harm’s way. Throughout the pandemic, union members have defended workers’ rights and kept workplaces safe for everyone.
Being a part of your union benefits your health and safety. The evidence shows that having a union health and safety representative at work leads to better reporting of health and safety risks.