Thursday 09 March 2023
Youth Custodial Officers (YCOs) at Banksia Hill Detention Centre have walked off the job today following another insufficient offer from the Department of Justice that continues to leave serious workplace health and safety concerns unmet. YCOs are calling on the McGowan Government to meet its responsibility for staff safety and urgently provide them with an offer that materially addresses their workplace health and safety concerns, to ensure they return home safely to their families every night.
This has followed almost a year of good-faith bargaining from CPSU/CSA delegates from Banksia Hill. The delegate bargaining team last night, with overwhelming member support, decided to take industrial strike action to call on the Government to provide an offer that meets their workplace health and safety concerns, especially after the critical failure of health and safety last week that led to a YCO requiring emergency surgery. The Government has this responsibility to all of their public sector workers.
It has been almost nine months since the last YCO Agreement expired and YCO members provided the Government with their log of claims. The first offer provided over a month ago was overwhelmingly rejected by CPSU/CSA members, and offers since have not seen the safety improvements needed. The patience of YCOs is now wearing thin. They have done their part of bargaining in good faith, and turned up to work in an extremely challenging and sometimes dangerous environment, where assaults on youth custodial staff are 100 times more likely than at adult centres. The lack of responsibility from the Government on workplace health and safety continues to be unacceptable.
Quotes attributable to CPSU/CSA Branch Secretary, Rikki Hendon:
“Health and safety have been at the core of the claims for Youth Custodial officers, a safe workplace for them means a safer Banksia Hill. It is time the government started treating its frontline workers at Banksia Hill with the respect they deserve and stop avoiding their responsibility to workplace health and safety.
“The Department of Justice can enact changes right now, without the requirement for legislative change, budgetary changes or ministerial approval that can meet the workplace health and safety concerns. The Department, and the Government, choose not to, choosing to instead endanger their workers.
“Every worker, at every worksite across the state, deserves to go to work and come home safe every single day. That is no less true for Youth Custodial Officers and the Government needs to step up and take responsibility for the workplace health and safety of staff at Banksia Hill Detention Centre.”
- CPSU/CSA Branch Secretary, Rikki Hendon, will hold a press conference at Banksia Hill Detention Centre at 2:30pm.
- YCOs are not available for media comment due to workplace code of conduct requirements.
- The CPSU/CSA negotiations the pay and conditions agreement for around 200 Youth Custodial Officers.