Unions win last minute reprieve for Transport Workers on COVID requirements
Late yesterday, the NSW Government granted a temporary exemption for Transport to the restrictions that are set to come into effect on Monday, 30 August 2021.
For the past week, the RTBU alongside the TWU and MUA, have been urging the Government to make exemptions to the Public Health Orders requiring either vaccination or rapid antigen testing. Obvious issues arose given that not all employers are putting rapid testing in place, and for a variety of reasons not everyone has been, or is able to be, vaccinated.
After robust discussions with TfNSW across the week, the following change will be put in place.
From Monday, 30 August, there will be 3 ways that Authorised workers can leave the 12 affected LGAs to attend work, if:
- You have had the first dose of a COVID vaccine;
- Your employer has rapid antigen testing in the workplace; or
- You have a PCR test every 3 days (as has been the case for some time in Fairfield and Canterbury Bankstown LGAs).
At this stage this exemption only applies to Transport Workers although that may change. We will continue to monitor the situation and fight to ensure that any Health Orders issued are sensible, workable, clear, and consistent.
We will continue to lobby for employers to provide priority testing and voluntary vaccination for their employees at the worksite, to save members having to queue up for hours in their own time and potentially get exposed while waiting in line.
Important information for members about permits:
- From Saturday, 28 August, a permit system will commence for authorised workers living in an LGA of concern who have to leave that LGA for work.
- Members will also require a permit if they live outside the LGAs of concern and travel into an LGA for work.
- If you are travelling through an LGA of concern, you do not need a permit. You only need a permit if you are leaving the vehicle.
- As has been the requirement for some time in other Transport sectors including with freight members, it is up to individuals to apply for and confirm a permit if required.
- The permits portal for travel within NSW is now live, members can apply for a permit here: https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/register-your-travel-within-nsw
- If the system is unable to process the volume of permits required, there are contingency plans which will be announced today if required.