PSA win forces Government to consult

May 15, 2014

The PSA had a significant victory yesterday in relation to consultation mechanisms across the public sector with a win in the Industrial Relations Commission.

In 2012, the State Government introduced a new consultation policy that scrapped the long standing agreed policy from 1997 that set out defined consultation provisions and guaranteed the central role of unions in the process.

The 2012 policy effectively made consultation mere lip service with a broad set of principles.

Worse, the new policy was not an agreed document, and was issued without the agreement of the public sector unions.

The PSA challenged this policy in the Industrial Relations Commission seeking a declaration that the 1997 Consultation Policy was incorporated in the Public Service Conditions of Employment Award and as such remained alive.

The matter was heard before Justice Walton on 22 November 2013.

Yesterday, 14 May, the decision was handed down and we won.

You can read the full decision HERE.

Justice Walton found that, “The necessary implication must be that, if management and the PSA are to effectively consult on ‘matters of mutual interest and concern, both formal and informal’, they are required to do so in accordance with the 1997 Consultative Arrangements.”

Justice Walton further stated, “In my opinion, the language of cl.65.1, when read in context, confirms an intention that there be an effective means of consultation between management and the PSA in the form of the 1997 Consultative Arrangements which carried with it a legal obligation to comply with those Arrangements. ……The parties will be required to act in accordance with those provisions by undertaking consultation within the framework of those Arrangements and, in the case of terms expressed as being obligatory, to act accordingly.”

You can read the 1997 Consultation Policy HERE.

The impact of yesterday’s decision will not be felt immediately but it forces the Government to rethink what is meant by genuine consultation.

Ground Breaking Win for PSA

Apr 15, 2014


In 2011, the Government, at the stroke of a pen, unilaterally changed rights around redeployment and redundancy pay for public servants. The PSA has repeatedly fought against this radical change and last week had a ground-breaking win in the Court of Appeal which will benefit all PSA members working in the public service.

This win came about as a result of the PSA’s application in 2012 to have a redundancy clause inserted in the School Administrative and Support Staff Award. The Government successfully challenged our application in the Industrial Relations Commission by using its Industrial Relations Act, Regulation 6(1)(f).

The PSA appealed the decision of the full bench of the Industrial Relations Commission which led to our most recent victory last week.

This is a win for all members working in the public service as the Court of Appeal declared that the O’Farrell Government’s regulation that stops the right of public servants to have negotiated or arbitrated enforceable rights around redundancy was invalid.

The effect of this decision for members is that the Industrial Relations Commission is no longer restricted on including redundancy provisions in an Award for public sector employees.

This is a very important victory for which the PSA has again led the way for all other public sector unions.

The PSA will immediately move to vary all relevant Awards in order to ensure that your redundancy rights are protected in your Awards and Agreements.

The PSA calls on the NSW Government as your employer to respect this decision rather than appeal to the High Court.

PSA wins redundancy rights for public sector workers

Apr 10, 2014

Today’s ruling by The Court of Appeal has opened the door to redundancy provisions being inserted into awards for public sector workers being battered by the O’Farrell Government said the Public Service Association (PSA).

The Court of Appeal found a Government regulation which excluded redundancy provisions being contained in awards was invalid.

The effect of this decision is to remove the restriction on including redundancy provisions in an award for public sector employees.

The matter began when the PSA applied to vary the award for School Administrative and Support Staff to include redundancy provisions.

The O’Farrell Government successfully objected to this in the Industrial Relations Commission.

The PSA took the matter to the Court of Appeal and today were victorious.

“This is a great win for all PSA members in the NSW public sector,” said PSA General Secretary, Anne Gardiner.

“This Government has been methodically undermining the job security of their entire workforce but today’s decision provides a safety net for public servants, something that the Government expressly attempted to disallow.”

The PSA is now able to apply to have redundancy provisions inserted in all of its awards.

For further information contact:  (02) 92200982.

PSA calls on Government to honour wage policy after pay win

Dec 17, 2013

The Industrial Relations Commission today ruled that the full 2.5% available under the Government’s wages policy be paid to members employed under the Public Sector Salaries and related awards.

An interim increase of 2.27% has already been paid.

Today’s decision by the Commission is available HERE.

The PSA now calls on the Government to accept the Commission’s decision and honour its own wages policy and pay the full 2.5%.

In April, the PSA applied to the Industrial Relations Commission for a 2.5% salary increase to commence from 1 July 2013.

This is the maximum allowed, without trade-offs, under the Government’s unfair wages policy.

In May, the Government suddenly announced its intention to use the Federal Government’s 0.25% increase to the Superannuation Guarantee Contribution (SGC) as an excuse to reduce the pay of public sector workers.

The PSA argued against this in the Industrial Relations Commission and won.

In response, the Government immediately moved to change the law and introduce a regulation to ensure the salary increase would be discounted by the 0.25%.

The regulation was voted down.

Despite earlier written assurances, the O’Farrell Government decided that the 2.27% rise was enough.

The PSA appeared before Industrial Relations Commission President, Justice Boland on 6 September and asked that the Commission award the full 2.5% increase.

In deciding to allow the Government to run its arguments, Justice Boland acknowledged that the Commission was required to take economic circumstances into account.

The Government’s argument against a further increase was heard by the Commission on 13 and 28 November.

The PSA and Unions NSW funded expert economic evidence to support the application for the full 2.5% increase.

We will keep members updated on the Government’s next move.

PSA wins 2.5% super fight …so Barry changes the law

Jul 2, 2013

The O’Farrell Government have arrogantly changed the law to overturn the decision of the Industrial Relations Commission not to cut the 2.5% public sector wage cap by the increase in the superannuation guarantee contribution.

This appalling shift of the goal posts by the Government was in response to a unanimous decision by the Full Bench of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) on 25 June.

The Full Bench ruled that the PSA’s applications for a 2.5% increase to the Public Sector Salaries Award and related awards be paid in full and not discounted by the 0.25% rise in the superannuation guarantee contribution.

In response, the Government have announced it will override the Commission’s decision with an amended regulation to force the IRC to discount the pay increase by the rise in superannuation.

Further, the Government indicated it will also appeal against the decision of the Commission in the event that the Upper House disallows this new regulation.

The move came on Friday 28 June which was not only the last working day before the increase in the superannuation guarantee kicked in on Monday 1 July but after Parliament had formally risen for the winter recess which meant no opposition could be mounted until the next sitting.

As far as the PSA is concerned, the Commission’s ruling vindicated our position that the Government’s 2.5% cap applies to wages and wages alone.

The PSA initiated the fight against the Government attack and was then joined by Unions NSW and other public sector unions.

While the PSA maintains that the Government’s 2.5% public sector wage cap leads to a reduction in pay in real terms, we were not about to sit by and have that figure discounted further.

That remains our position.

But it is now clear that the Government is incapable of sticking to its own wage cap and can and will change the law to suit its needs and circumstance.

The PSA and other public sector unions are planning a collective strategy in response to this latest attack.

In the meantime, the PSA is back before the Industrial Relations Commission on Friday 5 July for a ruling on the level of increase that members will now receive.

WorkCover bullying “disgrace” brings about inquiry

Jun 30, 2013

The inquiry came about thanks to a push from the Greens following a slamming of the work, health and safety regulator by the Industrial Relations Commission for its treatment of a senior employee who was bullied from his position.

Deputy Industrial Relations Commission President Harrison’s decision in relation to the PSA’s unfair dismissal application was scathing of WorkCover.

It was ordered that the member be re-instated with no detriment in a decision which was wholly damning of the manner in which the disciplinary matter had been handled.

DP Harrison stated that in all his time on the bench he struggled to find an example where someone was dealt with in a more unjust manner and that WorkCover’s handling of the matter was an “absolute disgrace”.

DP Harrison further stated that the conduct by WorkCover was “shabby and disgraceful. It lacks any objectivity and has the characterisation of institutional bullying.”

The episode comes despite WorkCover making the headlines in relation to a culture of bullying in 2011.
In response to this latest incident, the NSW Greens called for the establishment of a Parliamentary Inquiry into bullying within WorkCover.

“There have been ongoing concerns within WorkCover of systematic bullying and mistreatment of staff, yet despite reviews and promises it seems nothing has changed,” said Greens NSW MP and Industrial Relations spokesperson David Shoebridge.

“In 2011 a report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers uncovered that 40% of WorkCover employees reported experiencing harassment and bullying in their workplace.

“WorkCover is responsible for regulating occupational health and safety in workplaces across NSW, including claims of bullying and harassment. “WorkCover handles more than 5,000 claims about bullying per year, but with the regulator accused of bullying within its own ranks, it is hard to see how workers could have confidence in its ability to handle their claims.

“The O’Farrell Government has massively gouged the Workers Compensation scheme in NSW, yet to date has been unwilling to address the bullying happening in this fairness arbiter.
“Given the recent finding by the IRC, it is clear that the recommendations of the previous report were either insufficient or have been inadequately implemented.

“Rather than just another consultant’s review, what is needed now is a truly independent examination of the culture within WorkCover, and how this systematic bullying can be rooted out.

“Someone genuinely independent needs to shine a strong light on the internal workings of WorkCover.”
And they are about to.

Delegates have met and called for action to be taken following the decision of the Industrial Relations Commission in the bullying case.

They are understandably concerned about the integrity of any internal investigation.

And who could blame them.


Indigenous flag dot painting small