PSA win ensures ADHC workers can stand up on 13 November

Nov 6, 2014

The Government’s attempt to prevent FACS staff from attending the 13 November rally outside Parliament House against the privatisation of Ageing, Disability and Home Care (ADHC) has been stopped in its tracks.

On 31 October, FACS Head Office issued a directive to managers that no further leave or extended breaks were to be granted for the rally, effectively blocking staff from attending.

The PSA quickly lodged a dispute in the Industrial Relations Commission which was heard by the Acting President of the IRC Justice Boland on 5 November.

Justice Boland felt that the approach of the Department was heavy handed.

As a result, FACS have confirmed it will remove the blanket ban and advise that normal leave practices will apply for 13 November.

PSA achieves major win for temporary employees

Nov 4, 2014

Dear members,

On 17 October, I sent an email highlighting the PSA’s serious concerns about the impact of the GSE Act on temporary employees.

Read 17 October email HERE.

Today, in a major win for thousands of temporary employees in the public service, the Public Service Commissioner advised the PSA that amendments will be made to the Rules of the Government Sector Employment Act in order to streamline the conversion of existing temporary employees to permanent jobs.

This decision comes after the PSA’s active campaigning to achieve security for temporary employees.

Under the provisions of the GSE Act, thousands of temporary employees stood to be terminated on 24 February 2015.

The impact this would have had on long-term temporary employees and the services they provide was highlighted in the Sydney Morning Herald last week.

Read the Herald article HERE.

The PSA will now consult with Agencies regarding the changes outlined by the Public Service Commissioner today.

We will update members and delegates on what can be done to ensure this win is put into action in your workplace.

Temporary employees who are not members need to join the PSA in order to receive assistance from the union in the conversion process.

If you know a temporary employee who isn’t a member, please encourage them to join the union.

Today’s win is thanks to the efforts of PSA members who provided us with the information needed for the union to campaign around this issue.

In unity,

Anne Gardiner
General Secretary

RMS Combined Award arrives

Sep 18, 2014

The consolidation of seven Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) industrial instruments into one award has been finalised, enshrining some important wins for members and bringing to an end two long years of negotiations.

The Roads and Maritime Services Consolidated Salaried Award 2014 was successfully agreed upon by the PSA and other RMS salaried staff unions in June this year, with only the ‘no extra claims’ clause still being disputed.

The PSA engaged members and delegates in widespread, ongoing consultation throughout the process.
No existing conditions were lost or traded away, despite RMS’s indications last year that it would try to remove a number of conditions from the award and turn them into policy. On the contrary, some important improvements were made to existing entitlements. These include a defined payment for disturbance allowance (now an award entitlement); the expansion of some crib break entitlements to include staff assigned to safety stations and enhanced sick leave provisions.

RMS threw up a number of roadblocks throughout negotiations, including an unsuccessful attempt to reduce PSA representation to just one official and one member. The PSA objected and was able to involve one official and three members, as we had initially intended.

An appeal against the ‘no extra claims clause’ has been lodged by the PSA. The imposition of such a clause may have sector-wide implications, as it may flow on to other public service awards.

RMS member back on the road at Service NSW

Sep 16, 2014

A member from Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) has successfully secured a role at Service NSW, thanks to the PSA.

The Industrial Relations Commission recommended that the member be permitted to sit a second job interview on the grounds that they had been unfairly disadvantaged during the recruitment process. The member had returned from overseas only one day before the interview took place and had not undergone ‘Get that Job’ training provided by Service NSW.

As the NSW Government converts RMS into Service NSW sites, all employees are being forced to reapply for their positions.

Members applying for a position in their current location are classified as Priority 1A applicants.

If Priority 1A applicants are not successful in securing their job, they are eligible to lodge an Assisted Appointment Review with the Industrial Relations Commission via the PSA.

In order to be successfully reappointed, the member must be able to provide evidence that they are a meritorious applicant who should have been appointed to the role initially.

In this particular case, the member – with the assistance of the PSA – was able to show that they were disadvantaged by having an inadequate time to prepare for the interview and demonstrate their merit.

The PSA is committed to ensuring that the transition of RMS employees to Service NSW is not used to unfairly exclude members from their jobs.

The union is currently assisting members with this process.

TAFE member wins back job in blow to forced redundancy

Jul 10, 2014

In rejecting TAFE’s arguments about the nature and scope of the reinstatement order, the Full Bench found that it is not necessary to specify a position to which an employee could have been redeployed, and that it is sufficient to identify ‘other work’ to which redeployment would be reasonable.

In his concluding remarks, Justice Ross rejected TAFE’s argument that there was no job available:

“In remitting the matter to Commissioner McKenna we have considered the appellant’s submission that it is implicit in the Commissioner’s decision that there was no position to which [the member] could have been redeployed, but we do not find that submission persuasive…

“Further…there is an onus on the employer to adduce evidence of the employee’s job no longer being required to be done by anyone in the employer’s enterprise, and as to whether there was a job in that enterprise or associated entity, to which it would have been reasonable to redeploy the dismissed employee. Evidence in relation to the latter would usually include canvassing the steps taken by the employer to identify other work that could have been undertaken.”

When the matter went back to Commissioner McKenna in March to determine if our member was unfairly dismissed, consistent with the decision of the Full Bench, TAFE attempted to have the case reheard with new material quite different to that previously raised. This was contrary to the appeal decision.

When the matter went back to Commissioner McKenna in March to determine if our member was unfairly dismissed, consistent with the decision of the Full Bench, TAFE attempted to have the case reheard with new material quite different to that previously raised. This was contrary to the appeal decision.

TAFE argued that the legislative powers of the Commonwealth cannot be exercised to destroy the capacity of the states to function as a government – that is, to manage its employees by application, for example, of the Managing Excess Employees policy.

If these arguments were successful they would have had enormous consequences for every state employee throughout Australia that falls within the federal employment jurisdiction.

Commissioner McKenna made no finding on this point, referring to legal authority that such a matter should have been raised earlier, but determined that the member had been unfairly dismissed and should be reinstated in no less favourable a position and receive all her entitlements.

TAFE, however, ignored the order and after the compliance date lodged applications in the Federal Court for a stay (put the decision on hold) pending a judicial review.

In refusing TAFE’s application, Justice Perram stated there were no ‘exceptional circumstances’ and though TAFE had “an arguable case… the balance of convenience plainly does not favour TAFE”.

He went on: “Even if I had otherwise been satisfied that TAFE was entitled to a stay, I would refuse the application due to its delay in applying… Waiting for two weeks, until such time as it had already committed an offence under the Fair Work Act, was a delay which is simply inexcusable in an application such as the present.”

The member has now returned to work with the judicial review continuing before the Federal Court.

Legal Aid Consultation Win

May 20, 2014

On 5 June 2014, Commissioner Newall in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission heard a dispute lodged by the PSA regarding lack of consultation by Legal Aid NSW over a restructure which resulted in staff cuts from seven to three in the Grants Records Section.

In his recommendation that the parties meet to properly discuss workloads, Commissioner Newall also placed a significant focus on the welfare of the remaining staff and his preparedness to hear further from the parties if requested.

He made particular reference to the 1997 Consultative Arrangements Policy and Guidelines and stated that this policy made it “abundantly clear” that consultation with the PSA must occur before decisions are made and implemented.

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