ABOUT 80 family services case workers from three Parramatta offices walked off the job for an hour on Tuesday to highlight their concerns around the high vacancy rates in their industry.
‘‘That’s much more people than we expected,’’ Steve Turner, assistant secretary of the Public Service Association of NSW, said.
‘‘The fact so many people were prepared to walk out the door shows people are very concerned and want this minister [Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward] to start listening to their concerns.’’
The industrial action followed media reports last week which revealed NSW is short about 270 case workers.
‘‘Parramatta walked in August last year for the first time and they’re walking again a year later because they feel they haven’t been listened to at all,’’ Mr Turner said.
‘‘We have been calling for five years or more to fill these vacancies, now running at 20per cent on average [statewide].
‘‘In an office the size of Parramatta I’d expect it to be similar.
‘‘Really it’s about giving them the proper resources to look after children appropriately.
‘‘There’s a high workers comp level in community services and a high turnover of staff.’’
Mr Turner said the solution was to fill these jobs, improve resources, fix computer problems and get rid of the red tape hampering effective child protection in NSW.
‘‘It’s not so much what’s being dropped, but the stress it’s putting the current staff under,’’ he said.
Parramatta was one of 30 offices in NSW to walk, including offices in Fairfield and Lakemba.