PSA Wins Case on Super

Jun 25, 2013

The PSA has won its case to stop the Government cutting our wage increase by the increase in superannuation.

In a unanimous decision the Full Bench found in favour of the PSA.

On 1 May 2013 the O’Farrell Government announced it would discount the 2.5% salary increase by the 0.25% increase in the superannuation guarantee contribution.  Over time this would have eroded your take home pay.

The PSA initiated this case and was then joined by Unions NSW and other public sector unions.  Our position remains that the Government’s 2.5% cap is on wages alone.

We call on the Government to accept the umpire’s ruling and not appeal this decision.

The next step is for the awards to be varied in line with today’s decision.  This process will take place through the IRC and members will be kept up to date on the progress.

We should take a moment to celebrate today’s achievement.

Anne Gardiner
General Secretary

Up to $5,000 in back pay in Rural Fire fight

Apr 20, 2013

The long awaited major incidents case with the Rural Fire Service (RFS) has been finalised with over 140 members so far receiving back pay for incorrect payments since 2006.

In 2011, the PSA ran a successful case in the Industrial Magistrates Court following failed discussions and disputation in the Industrial Relations Commission.

The Association disputed the interpretation of the Major Incidents clause in the award which was not being consistently applied across the service.

The prosecution was on the basis that:

  • Wash Up Time after completing their duties was not paid
  • Staff who had completed their block of shifts had not been paid for stand down days that fell on weekends
  • Staff had not been paid appropriate rates for travel to and from incidents
  • Staff had not been allowed the prescribed rest breaks after three consecutive shifts, instead being required to work five consecutive twelve hour days.
  • Incorrect shift penalties were paid on Sundays

The RFS admitted to some of the breaches in the Magistrates Court and has subsequently paid those members.

Although the matters were finalised in February 2011, it has taken until 2013 for the Rural Fire Service to finalise all of the back payments to members, some of whom have received up to $5,000.

As the Chief Industrial Magistrate’s Court is a “costs” jurisdiction, the PSA has sought to retrieve some of the expense incurred in pursuing this case.

This is an important aspect of the matter and aims to encourage the RFS to work with the PSA in the future to resolve such issues without the need for expensive litigation.

Due to the current financial pressures on the RFS and other government agencies, the PSA has not sought to retrieve all of its costs. This matter is currently being finalised.

The issue in relation to Major Incidents does not finish here however. T here is still a significant amount of work to be done as the decision has implications for other parts of the current award.

The PSA is continuing to discuss these matters with the Rural Fire Service in order to obtain the best outcome for members.

PSA serves up greater protections in Service NSW

Mar 20, 2013

After a long, hard-fought battle, the PSA has won greater protections for members in relation to the filling of jobs in Service NSW.

The Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) recommended the parties accept a Terms of Settlement.
The PSA did so following endorsement by delegates in Roads and Maritime Services, Fair Trading and Births, Deaths and Marriages.

While the outcome does not achieve direct appointments for affected employees (as argued by the PSA) it does ensure a greater degree of fairness and security for members compared to the ‘spill and fill’ method proposed by the Government.

KEY OUTCOMES

No recruitment centres for most members

Applicants for equivalent positions below the level of Service Centre Manager or Contact Centre Team Leader will not have to attend an external recruitment centre or undergo any online testing where there are the same or fewer applicants than positions. Instead applicants will have to attend only a single interview and the appointment decision will focus on an employee’s existing service record.

A merit based right of appeal review process

In the event an existing employee is unsuccessful in applying for a job in Service NSW and vacancies remain after the first round for each position, they will be able to have the decision reviewed by the IRC. This provides a safeguard in the event an employee is not appointed to an equivalent position in the agency.

Use of public sector merit selection principles

All interviews and interview panels must adhere to the merit selection principles used in the public sector. This greatly reduces the possibility of unfair or biased decisions.

Consideration of service record

An applicant’s employment record will have significant influence in reaching a decision as to suitability. This means there can be little to no reason why employees with satisfactory work history are not appointed. It is also a protection against being knocked out in the event of poor performance at the interview stage.

Recruitment generally

In addition, the PSA had raised concerns regarding a number of flaws in the recruitment process used for the first round applicants for the Service and Contact Centre manager positions. This resulted in a number of members not being appointed to positions despite being the only applicant for their location.
We have consequently won the right for these members to re-apply for their positions under the revised and fairer process with access to an appeals mechanism if required.

Assistance with the review process

The PSA will assist members who are facing a review. Just contact the PSA industrial staff for your current agency.

Thanks are due to the efforts of delegates, witnesses and members for their invaluable assistance, hard work and guidance throughout what has been a long and at times difficult process.

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