Excessive and “dangerous” workloads have left workers at the Department of Child Protection in Western Australia burnt out and unable to provide adequate support to the children in their care, they say.
On Friday, the Community and Public Sector Union will take their calls for action to the West Australian Industrial Relations Commission, after other methods failed to provide the result they wanted.
Child protection workers will protest in Perth’s CBD, citing excessive workloads and multiple breaches of their workload orders as the main issues, before the case is heard by the commission in a private hearing.
Union branch secretary Rikki Hendon said there had already been multiple strike actions, discussions with the department’s leadership and meetings with Minister for Child Protection Simone McGurk.
She said taking this dispute to the commission had been “a long time coming.”
“Our child protection members have told the department repeatedly that they are dangerously overloaded with cases, which puts the vulnerable children they work with at risk, but have not seen their employer take the necessary action to remedy this,” she said.
“This year, there have been 612 reported cases of child protection workloads exceeding the limit of 15 cases, a limit that can only be exceeded in exceptional circumstances.
“Of greater concern is that the absolute limit of 18 cases has been breached at least 85 times, in the same period.
“In light of these serious and ongoing breaches, child protection workers have no choice but to take the Department of Communities to the Commission.”