Early on, as the COVID-19 pandemic began to emerge in Australia, the Branch moved to suspend its workplace visit program, restrict public access to its Office location and roster attendance of its Officials, industrial staff and administration team in a way which minimises close physical contact with each other.
Although ad-hoc attendance of Officials at members’ workplaces have proceeded where unavoidable, the Branch’s scheduled visit program has ceased and Officials and employees have primarily engaged with members and employer representatives via telephone and video conferencing as much as practicable.
We took these steps to minimise the risk of exposure to our Officials as employees of the Union, and to minimise the risk of potential exposure to members we come in to contact with.
As government restrictions have eased, we will be recommencing regular visits to workplaces. As we do this, the health and safety of our Officials and our members is our first priority and visits will occur under strict guidelines that have been directed by me, as Branch Secretary.
We will also review these guidelines, from time to time, to ensure they continue to remain in compliance with government health regulations and requirements.
Minimising the infection risk at the CEPU NSW Branch Office location
The Branch Office is currently operating on a reduced attendance roster. A maximum of three Officials or industrial employees and three administration employees have attended the office on any given day, on a scheduled roster. Those Officials and employees are always rostered together, to minimise possible exposure to the wider group of Officials and employees, should an infection occur.
When in attendance, Officials and employees are required to remain within their individual offices and limit physical interaction with each other as far as practicable. Where physical interaction is unavoidable, adherence to the government’s social distancing regulations is strictly enforced.
Where an Official or industrial employee, who is not undertaking their duties at an employer location, tribunal, or other external place of business and would ordinarily attend for their duties at the Branch Office, if they are not rostered to attend on that particular day, they are working remotely, from their homes.
Officials, employees and service providers are excluded from attendance at the Branch Office for at least 14 days from the date upon which they:
- may have returned from overseas travel;
- last suffered symptoms of any illness; or
- have been in close contact with a person who has been confirmed or suspected to have contracted coronavirus or COVID-19
All Officials and employees who are immune compromised, or share a residence with somebody who is, have been and will continue to work from their home for the foreseeable future.
These measures, introduced early on in the emergence of the pandemic, have minimised the risk of COVID-19 infection amongst Officials and employees. The Branch Office will continue to be managed in this way for the foreseeable future as we begin to recommence our workplace visit program.
General Principles where an Official intends to exercise Right of Entry in order to enter an employer’s premises
- Officials who are excluded from attending the Branch Office, for the reasons stated above, will also be excluded from exercising their right of entry
- A record of each Official’s right of entry notice to enter a premises, along with a record of members employed at those premises, will be kept on file at the Branch Office
- Officials will ensure meetings with members will be conducted in appropriate locations within the workplace property that can accommodate the number of attendees whilst adhering to relevant government social distancing restrictions including;
- At the time of writing, where meetings occur within an indoor location, Officials will limit attendance to ensure a minimum of 4 square metres of floor space per attendee exists in the room, whilst also ensuring a physical distance of 1.5 metres between all present
- At the time of writing, where meetings occur within an outdoor location, Officials will ensure members are reminded to maintain a distance of at least 1.5metres from other attendees
- When engaging with members individually, Officials and members will maintain a distance of at least 1.5m from each other and minimise the exchange of physical items
- After handling physical items and touching surfaces, Officials will clean their hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitiser
Should you require any further information, Branch Assistant Secretary Peter Chaloner or Branch Officials Cade Anderson, Gil Enzon, Elly Huttly, Phil Kessey, TK Ly, Liam Murphy, Peter O’Connell, Dharmpal Singh or Dennis Williams on (02) 9893 7822.
Yours in unity,
NSW/ACT BRANCH SECRETARY