Site access has been restricted to dozens of CSIRO workplaces across the country as multiple Australian jurisdictions struggle to contain community transmission of coronavirus.
Lockdown and stay-at-home measures have been implemented in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, while a myriad of new border restrictions has severely hampered interstate travel.
As a result, CSIRO has moved to change access to a range of sites across Australia, encouraged affected staff to return to work from home arrangements and called for all employees to reconsider interstate travel plans for work purposes.
“The Staff Association continues to work constructively with CSIRO Executive as part of the organisation’s ongoing workforce response to the coronavirus pandemic,” CSIRO Staff Association Acting Secretary Susan Tonks said.
“We believe that the safety of CSIRO staff should remain paramount and that financial disadvantage should be minismised for all employees as a direct result of management decisions or directions in response to COVID-19.”
“Staff Association members that require specific advice or assistance are encouraged to contact the union to arrange support through a delegate, organiser or local Health and Safety Representative,” Ms Tonks said.
Increased community transmission of the coronavirus delta variant – via the so-called Bondi Cluster – ultimately resulted in the imposition of a two-week lockdown of Greater Sydney, including the Blue Mountains and Illawarra.
As a result, CSIRO has declared that all metropolitan sites (Everleigh, Marsfield, Lindfield, Lucas Heights, North Ryde and UNSW Kensington) move to Phase 1 of the organisation’s return to sites plan until Saturday 5 July.
Instances of community transmission have resulted in the implementation of shorter, ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdowns in Queensland and the Northern Territory.
As a result, all Queensland sites and CSIRO’s Darwin workplace move to Phase 3 until further notice.
A short three-day lockdown has also been declared for Perth and Peel regions.
Accordingly, CSIRO metropolitan sites (Floreat, IOMRC Crawley, IOMRC Watermans Bay, Kensington, New Norcia and Waterford) move to Phase 3 for the time being.
CSIRO’s Situation Management Team (SMT) has advised staff to reconsider domestic (interstate) work-related travel.
The advice states that domestic travel for work is limited to essential purposes only requires approval from line managers prior to booking.
‘Any decision to travel should also consider the very real possibility that changes to government border restrictions may result in the traveller needing to quarantine or isolate for an extended period.’
CSIRO employees can also contact their workplace Health and Safety representatives for assistance.
Members are also encouraged to contact the Staff Association’s working group to better inform the union’s advocacy on COVID-19.
The Staff Association is preparing a national workplace health, safety and wellbeing report aimed at identifying issues of concern for CSIRO employees.
To inform the report, the union is conducting a national survey of CSIRO employees seeking their views on a range of workplace issues, with a particular interest in workloads, stress and mental health and wellbeing.
The short survey is confidential and closes 5pm (local time) 30 June 2021. Complete the online survey here.