PSA appeal from Court fine for Valentine’s Day rallies and strike against privatisation of disability services

Nov 16, 2017

PSA appeal from Court fine for Valentine’s Day rallies and strike against privatisation of disability services – November 2017 (PDF version)

Earlier this year the Industrial Relations Secretary brought legal proceedings against the PSA in the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW (IRC) and subsequently in the Supreme Court of NSW for alleged for contravention of orders made by the IRC Commissioner against the PSA.

This was related to the PSA strike action by members including disability workers on Valentine’s Day in relation to the total privatisation of disability services in New South Wales. As you know the PSA has been strongly campaigning on behalf of members in order to seek appropriate protection for disability workers transferring from the public sector employment to the private sector.

Unfortunately the Supreme Court Judge agreed with the Industrial Relations Secretary and imposed a fine of $84,000 on the PSA – a fine which was five times higher than the previous highest penalty against a NSW union for taking industrial action in support of its members. This is just one example of why we must #ChangeTheRules.

The PSA/CPSU NSW is working with other unions on the Change the Rules campaign. Consistent attacks on workers and their unions such as this fine have contributed to inequality being at a 70-year high and increased insecure work, which has become commonplace in the disability sector.

We are building a movement to change the rules to bring fairness back to Australia. Working people need better and stronger rights at work to ensure jobs are secure and our wages are fair. For more information on the Change the Rules Campaign click HERE.

The PSA appeal to the NSW Court of Appeal

The PSA then lodged an appeal with the NSW Court of Appeal challenging the Supreme Court penalty on a number of grounds including to argue that the IRC Commissioner did not have the power to impose a penalty for the contravention. The PSA argued that alternatively if the IRC Commissioner did have the power to impose a penalty then the formula for calculating the penalty had not been correctly applied and that the fine amount was excessive. The PSA also presented legal argument in relation to the industrial relations legislation.

The PSA filed extensive evidence with the Court of Appeal and served the evidence upon the Industrial Relations Secretary.

The Industrial Relations Secretary opposed our Appeal and briefed the Crown Solicitor’s Office and two barristers including a Senior Counsel to object to the PSA appeal.

The PSA and the Industrial Relations Secretary appeared before the NSW Court of Appeal for the hearing of our appeal on 14 November 2017. The Appeal Court was made up of a Full Bench of three appeal judges including the Chief Justice of NSW.

At the hearing both the legal representatives for the PSA and the Industrial Relations Secretary made oral submissions in relation to the legal arguments.

The appeal judges heard the evidence and have now reserved their decision, which is unlikely to be delivered until 2018.

A further bulletin will be sent to members after the Court of Appeal has delivered its decision.

Know someone who isn’t a member?

A strong union means better outcomes for all members; encourage your workmates to JOIN the PSA today.

PSA update – Conversion of long-term temporary employment to ongoing employment at level

Nov 16, 2017

PSA update – Conversion of long-term temporary employment to ongoing employment at level – November 2017 (PDF version)

What is a long-term temporary employee?

If you have been employed in a temporary capacity for 12 months or more, you are considered a long-term temporary employee (formally referred to as a section 27 temporary employee). You can also request a review of your employment and seek conversion to an ongoing role.

Why is it important to ask for conversion?

Despite the best intentions of managers, conversion of temporary employees is not always a high priority. Long-term temporary employment has increased in the public service and is an example of insecure work.

The PSA fights for secure public sector jobs, which is why it is crucial that temporary employees who meet the threshold write to their supervisors to request conversion.

What are the requirements for conversion?

In accordance with Rule 12 of the Government Sector Employment Rules 2014 a long-term temporary employee may be converted to ongoing employment at level provided:

  1. the person has been employed in a temporary or term employment for a period of at least 12 months at level
  2. the employment is be based on the results of a comparative assessment
  3. is subject to the satisfactory conduct of the person.

Comparative assessments assess an individual’s claim against the pre-established standards for the role and any other claimants (applicants) for the role. This includes:

  1. screening for the essential requirements of the role
  2. application and resume
  3. at least three capability-based assessments, one of which is interview
  4. referee checks.

If you meet the above requirements, you are eligible to request the conversion of your temporary employment to ongoing employment.

What do I do to be converted?

The first step is to join the PSA and encourage all temporary staff at your office to join. You can do this easily online HERE.

Members are encouraged to contact the PSA for individual assistance, please call the PSA’s Member Support on 1300 772 679.

If you have a group of temporary workers in your workplace, contact us and arrange a PSA organiser to hold a meeting in your workplace. Discuss this with your colleagues and email your contact details and office location to FACSOrganising@psa.asn.au.

Public Holiday Shifts for Disability Staff employed under the Crown Employees Ageing, Disability and Homecare – Department of Human Services NSW (Community Living Award) 2010

Nov 16, 2017

Public Holiday Shifts for Disability Staff employed under the Crown Employees Ageing, Disability and Homecare – Department of Human Services NSW (Community Living Award) 2010 – November 2017 (PDF version)

The PSA recently sent a bulletin (15 September 2017) to members covered under the above award, as there may be discrepancies in members’ pay if they had worked a public holiday shift.

The PSA became aware of this after a number of members raised it as an issue.

As there was an upcoming public holiday on Monday 2 October 2017 (Labour Day), the PSA urged all members to check they had been paid in accordance to the award.

It has since been bought to the attention of the PSA that a number of members were not paid correctly if they worked on that day.

If you worked the night shift on Monday 2 October 2017 or any previous night shifts on a public holiday, the PSA urges you to contact FACS and request a review of ALL public holidays where you have worked a night shift for the past SIX years as per Clause 24 Arrears of Income, of the Limitations Act 1969 No31.

When contacting FACS please refer to Clause 14 (1) General (v) (vi) (vii) of the Community Living Award 2010 as set out below:

  1. Public Holidays

(v) Staff members who are rostered off duty on a public holiday shall:

  1. be paid one day’s pay in addition to the weekly rate or, if the officer so elects,
  2. have one day added to their period of recreation leave.

(vi) Where a staff member is rostered for a shift that crosses midnight on a public holiday, and the total rostered hours on the public holiday are less than the equivalent of a full shift, for the purposes of subclause (v) above, the shift will be deemed to have been worked on the day on which the majority of time was actually worked.

(vii) Where because of the majority of hours falling on a non-public holiday the shift is regarded as a non-public holiday shift, the staff member shall be deemed to have been rostered off duty on the public holiday and shall be paid in accordance with subclause (v).

Whilst FACS has rectified the situation in some cases, there have been instances where they still remain unresolved.

If your particular case still remains unresolved contact the PSA at disabilitycpsunsw@psa.asn.au.

Rostering Principles

Nov 15, 2017

Rostering Principles – November 2017 (PDF version)

The Industrial Relations Commission (IRC), on 30 August 2017, agreed with the PSA/CPSU NSW and ordered the Community Living Award (CLA) to be varied to include the Rostering Principles. This means that any act in contravention of the Rostering Principles is a breach of the CLA.

Members are advised to consult the Rostering Principles to clarify situations relating to rosters. Each group home should have a copy of them. To download a copy of the CLA please click HERE and Rostering Principles please click HERE.

One of the issues of concern to members is the filling of vacant shifts both for vacant shifts not exceeding five working days and vacant shifts exceeding five days. The Rostering Principles state:

“For vacancies not exceeding five days are to be filled in the following order:

  1. Additional hours offered to permanent and/or temporary part-time employees.
  2. Engagement of casual employees at ordinary rates, i.e. not overtime work.
  3. Overtime
  4. Agency staff.

For vacancies exceeding five days are to be filled in the following order:

  1. Permanent part-time staff to be offered a temporary increase in hours.
  2. New temporary contract of employment or variation of contract for existing temporary staff or may be administered by way of payment of additional hours.
  3. Casual employees at ordinary rates (not overtime).
  4. Overtime
  5. Agency staff.”

In both instances, engagement of agency staff is the last resort for filling of vacancies.

Members are encouraged to raise any breach of the Rostering Principles initially with their supervisor and if there is no resolution, contact the PSA/CPSU at DisabilityCPSUNSW@psa.asn.au.

Help us fight for a Disability Safety Net

Nov 10, 2017

Help us fight for a Disability Safety Net – November 2017 (PDF version)

It is no secret that the state Government disrespects its own workers. They run them down, cut their jobs and reduce funding to vital public services.

Over the last six years the O’Farrell, Baird and now Berejiklian Governments have relentlessly implemented their privatisation agenda.

Perhaps the most horrific one of all has been the total privatisation of disability services.

Police, Health, Community Services, TAFE, Schools; there is not one area of the public service that will not be impacted by this privatisation.

This privatisation leaves no safety net for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

That is why we will be holding a Safety Net Forum…

Already people with disability are falling through the cracks, languishing in hospital wards because they cannot be placed or their funding has run out.  Join us and have a say about what this would look like:

  • 5-7pm, Tuesday 14 November 2017
  • Hunter Trades Hall, 406-408 King Street Newcastle

Please register to attend HERE.

Please download the flyer HERE.

If you are on Facebook like the Disability Safety Net page HERE.

NDIS failure – we must have a Disability Safety Net

Nov 10, 2017

NDIS failure – we must have a Disability Safety Net – November 2017 (PDF version)

Already the NDIS has failed someone with complex support needs. People with disability are falling through the cracks.

This was tragically highlighted on ABC’s 7.30 last night and in an article on the ABC’s website which both told the story of a young man with disability who was unable to leave prison because he had nowhere else to go.

The article clearly outlines the exact issues the PSA/CPSU NSW have been raising with the NSW Government for years, emphasised in the excerpt below:

“Victoria legal Aid has made a submission to the Federal joint Standing Committee on the NDIS to say it has four clients in this position, and knows of others in New South Wales, who cannot leave prison because they have nowhere to go and there is not provider of last resort when the market failed to offer care to people with complex disabilities.”

You can read the full article HERE.

You can watch the 7.30 story HERE.

Please take two minutes to write a comment on the story and help emphasise how important it is to retain a Government Safety Net.

Come to the Disability Safety Net Forum

This is exactly the reason why we will be holding a series of Safety Net Forums, the first in Newcastle next week:

  • 5-7pm, Tuesday 14 November 2017
  • Hunter Trades Hall, 406-408 King Street Newcastle

Please register to attend HERE.

Please download the flyer HERE.

If you are on Facebook, like the Disability Safety Net page HERE.

We will continue to show leadership in the disability sector to ensure proper support for people with disability, parents, advocates and carers is in place including fighting to make sure that the workers that support them maintain reasonable and fair working conditions across both public and private organisations.

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