GOA backs off its unreasonable return to worksite demand
As the fourth wave of the COVID-19 rises, thousands of you have been worrying about being forced to go back to work by the GOA after months successfully working from home.
On June 30, as you know, the Deputy Minister’s Council sent an email to all staff advising that all GOA staff were expected to return to the office by September 7, 2021. As its political masters abdicated its responsibility towards the people of Alberta with its hands-off approach to dealing with our ongoing health crisis (they claimed the pandemic was over), the GOA bureaucracy ordered thousands of workers to return to their offices and worksites.
Since then, there has been considerable communication between your union and the Public Service Commissioner’s office. We do not believe the GOA was/is adequately prepared to ensure your safety if you are forced to return to the office. Inconsistent measures in place to ensure safety in GOA worksites across the province, particularly in zones where COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing and vaccination rates are low, make the situation even worse.
We have made it very clear to the GOA that we will be holding them to their responsibilities as an employer under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
This morning, they finally reversed their previous decision.
The Deputy Minister’s Council is now advising you should work from home unless your manager indicates there is a need to be onsite. Those who remain in the workplace will need to wear a mask except when alone at your workstation.
Throughout the past eighteen months, it has been quite clear that when it comes to planning with this government, the safety and well-being of Alberta workers is always an afterthought. Your union is here to remind the GOA that they have a legal responsibility to keep their workers safe from harm and we’re going to hold them to it.
If you have any unresolved issues at your worksite, including health and safety concerns, please contact your Membership Services Officer (MSO) by calling the Member Resource Centre at 1-800-232-7284.