The PSA met with Housing Contact Centre (HCC) management on 15 July 2020 for the quarterly Joint Consultative Committee (JCC).
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Work Health and Safety
Video & Teleconferencing The PSA raised the issue of ‘Zoom fatigue’ and the possibility video-conferencing can be intrusive and unwelcome. HCC management assures your union that most HCC staff are only required to participate in a few teleconferences per month and that audio-only participation is sufficient. The PSA encourages members to read the article in the July-September 2020 Red Tape.
Employee Assistance Program HCC management reports a counsellor continues to be available weekly and that there are now two counsellors on an alternating basis.
The counsellors are available for distance sessions for HCC staff regardless of where they are working. The PSA recognises this is an important resource and encourages members to seek support as required.
Spraying perfumes and aerosols Although not an issue at this time, the PSA supports the decision that should future incidents occur at HCC, affected staff are to lodge incident reports in Service Now. The PSA encourages members be mindful that their colleagues may suffer respiratory conditions and suffer adverse effects.
HCC management reports Team Leader talent pool recruitment is being conducted externally. The PSA expressed support for transparent and robust recruitment practices. In January the PSA had raised concern about inadequate notice for expression of interest opportunities, which disadvantaged members due to shift work and leave. The PSA will continue to monitor these practices.
The PSA expressed concern that some inductions had occurred and the PSA was not given the opportunity to participate. HCC management reported that training will be delivered online and that the PSA will continue to be a part of the induction process.
The PSA also questioned whether staff on secondment will be called back to the HCC. HCC management assured the PSA that no secondments will be recalled and are only terminated early where staff choose to do so.
The PSA is aware DCJ is exploring office-sharing and questioned will this include the HCC and what it may mean for members. HCC management reports DCJ is investigating a desk-booking system and is dependent on offices having available desks and required IT equipment for the role. HCC management will be looking at opportunities for HCC staff to access this.
The PSA raised concerns in January about the overtime guidelines, which we argued were not based in legislation or policy and impacted unfairly on members with caring responsibilities and certain shift times. Since then there have been no further reports from members. HCC management advised there is no more overtime at this stage unless funded as part of Disaster Welfare.
The employment of a significant number of contractors was recently ended. The PSA expressed concerns about the number of contractors engaged and concern that more conversions could be pursued. HCC management insists there are minimal vacancies currently and that contractors were engaged with Office of Emergency Management funding. A small number of contractors are still working at the HCC. The PSA will continue to advocate for employment security.
Consultation with PSA – Working From Home and Roster Review
HCC management has advised that the Roster Review is on hold to allow Working From Home Arrangements to be introduced and to allow staff to update their preferences. The PSA will continue to watch this space in order to advocate for transparency of rostering processes and consistency of consultation practices within DCJ.
A PSA delegate is a member of the HCC working group. Consistent with discussion in January, the PSA requested consultation on the Working From Home Arrangements guidelines as these will impact on members. HCC management indicate the formal DCJ procedure will be used and will seek PSA input on the HCC guidelines once drafted.
At the January meeting, the PSA expressed concern about a coverage issue between shift times of team leaders and night staff. HCC management reports that adjustments have been made to shift times to address the situation.
The PSA raised the issue that changes to night shift coverage now mean there is only one operator on duty when section 5 of the HCC Agreement requires at least two operators on duty. In particular, only having one operator on duty means there is no support to deal with immediate risk calls. HCC management acknowledged that the shift has changed from the original plan to co-locate night shift with the CS Helpline and agreed to look into a solution as night shift will be a fixed working from home shift. The PSA have also spoken to Paul Vevers about this issue and will continue to seek compliance with the HCC Agreement.
If you have any questions or feedback speak with your local delegate or attend one of the PSA virtual visits.