Thursday, 2 November 2017

National Parks and Wildlife Service bulletin

National Parks and Wildlife Service bulletin – November 2017 (PDF version)

Direct assignment

The PSA has been informed that during recent discussions with its workforce, OEH has incorrectly stated the reason some staff, including Senior Rangers and Project/Research Officers, have not been directly assigned to Clerk 7/8 roles is because of the PSA.

The PSA subsequently wrote to OEH and informed it of these direct reports from our members. OEH has denied it said this, stating “this statement is incorrect”. Members who were in attendance in these meetings say otherwise, and as such the PSA wishes to address what we believe to be a falsehood.

As has been stated prior, the PSA has had discussion around salary-matching principles with a view of reaching agreement on the ability for those staff who wish to be directly assigned to roles which on first glance would seem to be outside a five per cent range mandated by the Government Sector Employment Act and associated policies. At the very first meeting on
4 October, the PSA agreed that in order to mitigate adverse effects on staff, any loading paid as part of a condition of the NPWS Award should not be considered when determining the maximum salary of two comparable roles.

Specifically, this would mean Senior Rangers and other positions that receive a loading for working a number of weekends would be within the five per cent salary range, and therefore able to be directly assigned.

It would also allow for Senior Rangers to be assigned at the salary point in the new scale that is at the same or greater than the employee’s current base salary (i.e Grade 8, Level 2), as this is a requirement under the GSE Assignment to Roles Guidelines.

The PSA also put to OEH our position that any employee accepting a role with lower remuneration with their consent, would be entitled to three months’ salary maintenance, consistent with the principles of the Agency Change Management Guidelines. While this has always been the PSA’s position, it is clear that this salary maintenance would not apply in the above specific example, as the Senior Ranger base salary would be increased.

To state that the reason staff have not been assigned is because of the PSA, or any “demands” the PSA have, is manifestly incorrect. Following our meeting on 4 October, OEH has stated in writing it believes that “there are few, if any, work locations that would allow for a direct assignment to the Grade 9/10 or 7/8 roles that would not require NPWS to manage a competitive assessment process”. The decision not to directly assign staff in this situation has been made by OEH. Despite this position from OEH, the PSA has been raising a number of specific examples for individuals who we believe should be directly assigned. In addition, the PSA has a further appearance in the Industrial Relations Commission set for Monday 6 November.

Whilst we still progress these direct assignment issues, the PSA strongly advises staff in any role who wish to be considered for a 7/8 role to participate in the Priority EOI process. Clerk 7/8 Priority EOI applications are open until 5:00pm on Wednesday 8 November, and the latest update from OEH states that it is open to all ongoing and long term temporary employees.

Workload and deleted positions

The Association reminds members of its long-held direction not to undertake the duties or functions of vacant and deleted positions. This is a longstanding direction to members, and as directions remain in force until a subsequent bulletin rescinds it, we urge our members to abide by this direction. OEH has consistently stated roles will be done differently ones this restructure has been implemented. It is vital members only perform the work that relates to the role they are employed to perform, as to take on the duties from a position that has been deleted, and is not related to the role you are assigned to, would potentially increase workload to unsafe levels.