News

Thursday, 26 October 2017

National Parks and Wildlife Service restructure – Industrial Relations Commission appearance


National Parks and Wildlife Service restructure – Industrial Relations Commission appearance – October 2017 (PDF version)

The PSA has been in the Industrial Relations Commission (IRD) eight (8) times regarding the NPWS restructure, with the latest appearance being 23 October.

The PSA has written to OEH raising concerns that have been brought to the PSA through industrial staff or delegates since the announcement of the restructure in July.

The PSA has raised your concerns in meetings with OEH or the IRC.

Recently, the PSA met with OEH to negotiate a number of matching principles for those members wishing to be directly appointed to a number of 9/10 or 7/8 roles. These principles included:

  • for members who at their request wish to be placed in a lower remunerated role, they be allowed to do so, with any loading to be disregarded when considering whether the new role is within 5% bandwidth to allow for direct appointment
  • situations where members are placed in a lower remunerated role with their consent, they will receive three months’ salary maintenance from their time of placement in the new role.

Following this meeting, OEH informed us that “at this time our position is that there are few if any work locations that would allow for a direct assignment to the Grade 9/10 or Grade 7/8 roles”.

While the PSA is disappointed at this apparent change in position, we are still negotiating in good faith for individuals who would like this opportunity.

The PSA has continually requested that staff whose roles have been deleted and have not been placed in pools should be granted a voluntary redundancy, if they wish to leave the organisation immediately.

Members have voiced their concerns that allowing some staff access to VRs and not others, even though they are in the same situation, is not equitable.

OEH have stated that they are willing to look at individual circumstances on a case by case basis.

If members feel there are no prospects of gaining employment under the proposed structure, and wish to exit as soon as possible, contact your line manager. If you have no success or no reply, please contact the PSA at nswnp@psa.asn.au.

The PSA also wrote to NPWS as follows after receiving a large volume of requests from members for assistance in relation to the advertising of the Clerk 9/10 roles:

  1. The current process of recruitment to Clerk 9/10 roles restricts opportunities for ongoing employment by limiting applications to 3 roles only and is inequitable as members have advised that staff at this level have a broad range of experience that is suited to a number of the roles advertised. The PSA is of the view that, if this is due to a resources issue, NPWS should have considered that prior to announcing the restructure.

This matter was raised in IRC on the 23 October and the PSA also sought an extension on the 9/10 recruitment.

OEH advised the Commission that staff could apply for 3 roles per location, not 3 roles overall, meaning staff were in effect not limited to 3 roles.

If members find they cannot apply for 3 roles at multiple locations, please contact the NPWS mailbox seeking urgent assistance.

While the PSA is encouraged that staff can apply at multiple locations, it doesn’t address the unfairness of limiting staff to 3 roles in any given location.

PSA industrial staff and delegates have had further communication from a large number of members this week regarding the letters received by them regarding unsuccessful assignment and recruitment pools.

The PSA wrote to NPWS quoting the letter and raising the following issues:

  1. Why is there no reference to where the available pools can be viewed and the pools do not appear to be available on Insite to look at?
  2. When does the 3 days start or end, as the letters are undated and some people received their letters on Friday, while some members had not received their letters as of close of business Monday 23 October 2017?
  3. Can a person still apply to be considered in a different pool due to the fact the pools have not been published and the persons 3 days has already expired as of Tuesday 24 October 2017?

OEH responded to the PSA concerns by confirming that staff would receive an extension until close of business Friday 27 October to put in an application for the 9/10 roles.

Even though this extension was distributed, it was not distributed via an all staff correspondence consistent with the previous updates.

Furthermore, NPWS communicated to the PSA that they had doubts as to the validity of our claims that we had received multiple queries from members around this matter, undermining those concerns by referring to these concerns as “alleged”.

PSA delegates have been working tirelessly to support the membership, and deserve to be shown a greater level of respect than is currently being shown.

The matter is back before the Commission on 6 November.

NPWS Day of Action

The recent NPWS day of action achieved a large amount of publicity right across the state, ensuring that the issues resulting from this restructure are front and centre in the minds of local communities.

The PSA will be writing to thank all the community groups who came out to rallies across Queanbeyan, Katoomba, Griffith, Grafton and Wollongong to express their concerns with the current restructure.