Last month CPSU Delegates and worker-leaders wrote a letter addressed to Michael Pervan, Secretary of the Department of Communities, drawing attention to the multiple crises facing the Child Safety Service. A core concern remains the recruitment and retention crisis, which has seen advertised positions remain unfilled for extended periods. This is in no small part due to CSS’ reputation as a high-stress, low-pay workplace, lacking in resources and increasingly failing to recognise or value professional qualifications.
Workers have had enough and are prepared to take action together to fix the Child Safety Service. In total 60 Child Safety workers across the North and North West stood together and signed the letter, which amongst other things, requested a “hard to staff” allowance to attract new workers to unfilled positions, as well as additional mental health support and leave to support and retain workers who are already at breaking point.
A response from Deputy Secretary Narelle Butt was received weeks later. Deputy Secretary Burt suggested that these issues are already being dealt with and that members’ requests could not be met by the Department. Union members agreed that none of the issues were addressed by this response and began to discuss industrial action. The Department urgently requested a meeting with the union at this point.
In discussion with worker-leaders and delegates a meeting was requested with a representative from the State Service Management Office to ensure someone with actual decision-making power would be in attendance.
This meeting alone doesn’t guarantee we’ll secure the outcomes we need to fix the Child Safety Service, so we need to continue to build momentum and be prepared for action. Encourage your co-workers to join your union today and get organised! You can support workers in Child Safety by sharing this story to build awareness – and join us in calling on the Rockliff Government to step in and fix the crises in our Child Safety Service.
Community & Public Sector Union SPSFT