PSA lodges dispute over resumption of in-person visits - Public Service Association

PSA lodges dispute over resumption of in-person visits

Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) has announced the resumption of in-person visits commencing Saturday 26 February. The POVB State Executive entered consultation with CSNSW on Friday 18 February and raised the following concerns:

  • Visitors should be Rapid Antigen Screening (RAS) Tested prior to entering the Correctional Centre in line with testing protocols for staff and contractors.
  • Visitors are to wear P2 or N95 masks in line with Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for staff.
  • Staff shortages in centres would make it difficult to resume visits where there are already Variable Operational Routines (VORs) on an almost daily basis.
  • Not all Correctional Centres have outdoor visits facilities, so what protocols are to be adopted in those centres?

Following initial consultation, POVB Delegates from all locations were provided information from COVID Command relating to the resumption of visits and the concerns raised by the POVB. COVID Command agreed that visitors could be provided P2 or N95 masks and stated the reasons why visitors are NOT required to be RAS Tested prior to entering the centre. They stated that based on NSW Health advice in line with Aged Care protocols visitors will not be RAS Tested, visits are a maximum 30 minutes, face masks are to be worn at all times and all visitors must provide proof they are triple vaccinated.

Feedback from POVB Delegates was that all visitors MUST be RAS Tested. There was further consultation on Monday 21 February where CSNSW were advised of the POVB’s stance. In that meeting, Assistant Commissioner Anne-Marie Martin said she would consider CSNSW’s position in terms of RAS Testing visitors and she would review the level of staff shortages to determine if centres with staff deficiencies can safely resume visits. COVID Command also advised that centres which cannot accommodate outdoor visits would conduct indoor visits using the four-square-metre protocols.

A/C Martin wrote formally to the PSA on Tuesday 22 February and advised of her decision based on NSW Health advice, to allow visitors to enter Correctional Centres without the requirement to be RAS Tested.

The PSA immediately drafted a dispute regarding this decision and the matter has been lodged with the NSW Industrial Relations Commission  (IRC).

We will keep you updated following the IRC appearance.

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