BY FRANCES SHEEHAN
SYDNEY Fed up with being asked to perform miracles on the smell of an oily rag, staff at the Department of Community Services (DOCS) have taken industrial action to secure the extra staff and resources needed to protect NSW's children.
DOCS has been under fire since a series of revelations of child abuse cases not followed up. The Public Service Association(PSA)has blamed the crisis on chronic staffing shortages and managerial heavy-handedness. Morale has plummeted as staff struggle under the weight of new notifications, which doubled in the year to 2001.
The PSA gave detailed evidence to a parliamentary inquiry into DOCS but state treasurer Michael Egan and community services minister Faye Lo Po made no provision for extra funding in the June state budget.
Staff in the metropolitan south-east area took strike action on June 26 in protest at the government dragging its feet in negotiations with the union. It was the third one-day strike by staff, following action by PSA members in the metro west and northern areas in April and May.
PSA secretary Maurie O'Sullivan said: "It seems Egan wants to hold a gun to the head of the PSA, to force its members to accept unfair employment conditions."
From Green Left Weekly, July 10, 2002.
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