On the 8th March, NPWS sent out an all staff broadcast blaming the PSA for holding up the recruitment for the newly created SFS3 roles. As is usual throughout the restructure, NPWS have deliberately withheld information and continue to show a lack of respect to their staff.
The PSA and OEH began discussions about the creation of the SFS 3 role on the 19th October 2017. Since this time we have consistently stated that the Government Sector Employment Rules do not allow OEH to restrict internal recruitment arising from a restructure to a certain classification of staff, but rather the opportunity to apply should be given to every member of staff whose job has been deleted, altered or moved as a result of the restructure. We held meetings with Field Officers at Blowering and Waste Point Works Depots on the 22nd and 23rd November 2017, where all Field Officers (including PSA, AWU and non-members) had the opportunity to express their view and vote on whether they would like recruitment restricted to current SFS, FS and SFO or open to any staff member affected by the restructure. 72% of PSA members and 68% of all Field Officers voted to not restrict recruitment.
The PSA met with OEH on the 20th November, the 20th December, and the 29th January where we discussed the matter, as well as discussed it with the Minister for the Environment, Gabrielle Upton on the 12th December. The issue of the SFS3 role has also been discussed on numerous occasions at the Industrial Relations Commission, the latest occasion it being discussed being the 7th February. In the Industrial Relations Commission OEH stated that as the positions had not yet been created, any discussion about the recruitment to these positions was hypothetical and premature. When attempting to discuss the matter further with OEH, the Chief Executive of OEH Anthony Lean responded in writing on the 21st February that:
“as this issue is currently before the Industrial Relations Commission, and the PSA has recorded their intention to instigate litigation in this area, we cannot provide any further comment at this time”
For OEH to insinuate that the PSA provided notice of a dispute in the Industrial Relations Commission objecting to the proposed restructure only last week and that they intended to commence the EOI for SFS3 roles from the 8th March if not for that notice, it is at best inaccurate and at worst a deliberate attempt to mislead and deceive their own staff. This matter has been on the record for the last 5 months, and if OEH felt that the PSA would simply back down on its articulated positions then it is clear they underestimate the resolve of PSA members. While OEH has stated their priority is to resolve the dispute quickly, the PSA can confirm our priority is to stand up for our members and advocate for the fairest outcome for staff; one which mitigates the adverse effects that hundreds of OEH employees are experiencing.
While the PSA understands that delays can be frustrating, the PSA does not apologise for standing up for our member’s rights. We do not apologise for appearing in the Industrial Relations Commission 15 times regarding the restructure, we do not apologise for lobbying the Environment Minister and meeting with her twice, and we do not apologise for running a public campaign against the cuts to National Parks.