HACSU’s number one priority is our members’ health and safety.
In response to worsening COVID-19 outbreaks in Victoria, the CHO has indicated that to protect workers and the public, authorised workers will need to be vaccinated to work on-site.
Unfortunately, despite health and community services workers being ‘Priority 1A’ at the beginning of the rollout, the federal government failed to provide adequate workplace in-reach and education. This failure has meant our workers were left to fend for themselves to find appointments when vaccines were scarce and the messaging inconsistent.
If vaccines in the workplace had happened as promised, we never would have been in this situation. In fact, all our members would’ve received the jab by April.
We have continued to advocate for vaccination leave for all workers — paid leave to get vaccinated, and paid leave for workers who experience any side effects. This leave is increasingly important with the new October 15 deadline, and we continue to speak with employers on this. There must be a safety net to protect any worker who has difficulty accessing a vaccine before the deadline and for workers who are medically exempt.
We would also remind employers that COVID Safe workplace plans and health and safety measures must remain in place, and vaccination does not remove these controls. As always, employers must consult health and safety reps on any WHS changes.
Additionally, we’re calling for more information on what supports will be available for workers and workplaces should these new directions create workforce shortages. The Victorians we care for cannot be left without support. We also note that people with disabilities have been ultimately let down by the federal government’s botched vaccine rollout to priority groups.
Note: We will be providing a more detailed breakdown of what this means for members once we have assessed the new Directions. HACSU will support our members throughout this time in respect to their industrial rights and their right to a safe workplace, as we have throughout the pandemic — as always, members with industrial issues should contact HACSU ASSIST Mon-Fri 8:30-5pm.