Crown Solicitors Office – IRC dispute update - Public Service Association

Crown Solicitors Office – IRC dispute update

Crown Solicitors’s Officer – IRC dispute update – October 2017 (PDF version)

CSO open-plan office proposal – Industrial Relations Commission dispute

The PSA has lodged a dispute in the IRC, challenging the CSO’s open-plan office proposal and Property NSW’s NSW Government Fitout Design Principles policy the CSO is stating mandates the move to open plan.

The dispute is based on the CSO’s failure to properly consult with the PSA, failure to clarify why it is bound by the open-plan requirement of the Property NSW policy, and failure to adequately address work health and safety concerns. The diversity of concerns expressed by the membership as compiled previously, including productivity, confidentiality, noise, privacy, active file use and storage, have also been cited.

The PSA is seeking the following remedies:

  1. CSO stops progress on its open-plan office proposal.
  2. CSO completes risk assessments of the Open plan office proposal and provides them to the PSA.
  3. CSO properly consults with the PSA by exploring alternatives through a PSA representative workplace committee to determine an acceptable compromise.
  4. Contracting its architect to properly assess if the current number of offices can reasonably fit into five floors and releasing this information to the PSA.
  5. That Property NSW stops any action forcing the CSO to pursue an open-plan work environment.
  6. That Property NSW properly consults with the PSA in relation to its work environment policies, specifically amending its policy requiring all office layouts to be open plan, taking into account the specific needs of public servants requiring individual offices (for example government solicitors).
  7. That Property NSW rescinds its current policy and creates a new policy in consultation with the PSA.

IRC hearing date:

Thursday 2 November, 10am, Industrial Relations Commission of NSW, Court 5.4, Level 5. Members are encouraged to attend.

PSA request for health and safety representatives (HSRs)

The PSA has been alerted that consultation over work, health and safety matters at the CSO is not operating in an effective matter. Upon the request of PSA members, your union has lodged a request with CSO management for the election of HSRs under Section 50 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. Elected and trained HSRs are distinct from WHS Committee Officers, as they have powers under WHS legislation to issue Performance Improvement Notices and to Direct Unsafe Work to Cease. In light of the open-plan office proposal, HSR’s are an important tool to protect the WHS interests of CSO staff.

The PSA expects negotiations with CSO management for HSR’s to commence shortly.

Your PSA delegates are:

Leigh Plater – Senior Solicitor (x 85377)

Teri Southwell – Legal & Financial Administration Officer (x 85410)

Your PSA staff are:

Surabi Alauddin – Organiser

Andrew Boulton – Industrial Officer

Encourage your colleagues to join the PSA online at, or see your delegates for Membership Forms. A unionised workplace is a fairer workplace!

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