Union welcomes support for vulnerable Tasmanian ECEC visa workers

Union welcomes support for vulnerable Tasmanian ECEC visa workers

by Freya Lucas

April 24, 2020

The United Workers Union has welcomed a recent decision by the Tasmanian Government to provide $3 million of financial assistance to temporary migrant workers, including those employed in early childhood education and care (ECEC), who have been left vulnerable by assistance measures delivered by the Federal Government not extending to them due to their visa status. 

 

“United Workers Union represents thousands of workers across Tasmania, and we have many temporary migrant members working in essential industries such as early childhood education and care, food supply, farms, cleaning, and security” Jannette Armstrong, United Workers Union Tasmanian spokesperson said. 

 

Ms Armstrong explained that the pandemic has “created huge uncertainties” for those who are working in the state on temporary visas, calling on Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to “take notice of this move to assist workers who contribute so much to our economy and community.”

 

“Sadly, over the past few weeks, United Workers Union Tasmania has been made aware of a number of heartbreaking situations and personal stories of migrant workers in crisis. This financial assistance will make a start to alleviate these financial pressures” Ms Armstrong said. 

 

“This is a reflection of an inclusive and caring Tasmania: it’s now time for the Federal Government to also implement supportive measures for temporary migrant workers nationwide.”

 

United Workers Union continues to call on the Federal Government to implement the following measures to support migrant workers nationwide:

 

  • Guaranteed paid special leave for all workers – permanent, casual, labour hire and contract – who are forced to either self-isolate as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, or where there is a genuine business downturn or shutdown as a result of the pandemic.

 

  • Universal income support for all workers – permanent, casual, labour hire and contract – who lose work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, or where there is a genuine business downturn or shutdown as a result of the pandemic.

 

  • Implementation of an information ‘firewall’ between health services and the Department of Home Affairs, so that all workers feel safe to get the treatment they need irrespective of visa status.

 

  • Immediate end to visa enforcement and detention actions by the Department of Home Affairs targeting essential workers, noting that these actions serve only to force workers in hiding which, at this time, poses a serious risk to their health.

 

  • Immediate resolution of status for the thousands of undocumented migrant workers in Australia, to provide them with lawful status to continue their crucial work.

 

  • Immediate government funding for adequate community isolation stations for temporary migrant workers to access if they are exposed to the virus, and to ensure Workers do not face out-of-pocket expenses related to COVID-19 testing and treatment.

 

A copy of the letter United Workers Union wrote to the Tasmanian Premier requesting urgent action for migrant workers is available here.

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