The PSA would like to extend its heartfelt thanks for the amazing work members have undertaken in very trying conditions over the last few months since the beginning of the bushfire season.
Your work has also been celebrated in a widely shared post on the PSA’s Facebook page, available HERE.
The events and conditions that members have dealt with have been unprecedented. The PSA has spoken with many members who say they have never worked shifts like that in their 20- or 30-year careers.
The PSA acknowledges that some of the jobs members have dealt with and the challenges they have gone through have been unbelievably difficult in terms of mental health and resilience. Periods spent dispatching when RFS crews were in mortal danger or when radio communications with car crews went silent will take their toll on even the most seasoned operator.
Anybody who is having difficulties should have no hesitation in reaching out to EAP, their doctor, peer support officers, managers, or the PSA as appropriate. Take the time and resources you need to look after yourself or recover and know when to talk to a professional about vicarious trauma or workload stress.
A reminder that the PSA runs a training course on Mental Health, Care and Resilience which some members in VKG have previously attended and found very useful. PSA members can attend these course for free and are entitled to 12 days of Special Leave every two years for union activities including training. Further information is available HERE.
The PSA is disappointed that concerns consistently raised by delegates with Management at the quarterly Joint Communications Consultative Committee (JCCC) meetings around staffing levels and a lack of forward planning for forecast major weather events have not been heeded. This led to numerous situations where members had their workplace health and safety severely impacted through overwork and stress and a denial of legal entitlements to adequate breaks. This also has obvious flow on impacts to the public service that members are tasked with providing to Police Officers and members of the public.
The PSA has this week written to Assistant Commissioner Kyle Stewart with a formal dispute notification and will be seeking concrete answers about what changes NSW Police will make to ensure your workplace health and safety, as well as your Award entitlements in the workplace, are properly protected moving forward. If the answers are inadequate, the PSA will escalate the dispute to the Industrial Relations Commission. A copy of the letter is available HERE.
Numerous Workload Concern Reports submitted by members over the New Year bushfire period are being analysed and answers sought. These provide a critical contemporaneous record documenting the inadequate staffing at certain times in certain centres.
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