“So many people I know are clutching at straws right now”

Charmaine Simonet

Adding her voice to the push for the return of JobKeeper on behalf of the workers of the Central Coast is Erina Fair worker, Charmaine Simonet, who is also a store delegate for the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA).

“I am a part-time worker and have been stood down as a result of the restrictions which means I am unpaid, as are many of my colleagues,” Simonet said.

“My work has offered for us to take annual leave or long-service leave but for some of us that is not an option – and even if it was it should not be.

“While I have lodged a claim to retrieve my pay through Centrelink, waiting to see whether the application is successful is agonising.

“This whole process has been so much more stressful than it had to be and with lockdown already causing enough, that is the last thing we need.”

Simonet said current payments do not guarantee any income.

“With JobKeeper we were guaranteed an income, we did not have to worry but now we do have to worry,” she said.

“While I am one of the lucky ones, there are some who are dependent on their own, struggling to pay their rent and feed their kids.

“So many people I know are clutching at straws right now and our government is just watching.

“A modified JobKeeper payment to NSW is necessary to ensure we can work our way through this lockdown and out of it.

“Our members were walking in to work not knowing what was going to happen and now unfortunately our worst fears have come true.

“The Government has had time to put in these measures, we have been through lockdowns before, and a scheme should already be in place.”

Terry Collins