The most recent Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) meeting between the PSA and LLS management was held on 22 May 2019. Below is key information stemming from that meeting.
LLS Workforce Transition Plan
This is a standard agenda item to ensure that consultation on restructuring is occurring. Whilst management advised there were no current restructures the PSA raised concerns that we had heard that some fixed-term contracts have ceased in some areas. Whilst these may connect to fixed-term funding, we expect to be kept informed. Where funding does not continue, we seek discussions in an effort to ameliorate impacts. This is particularly important with there being 11 LLS Regions.
Management acknowledged this concern and that we should be informed of intended cessation of positions to enable discussions and then made commitments in that regard.
Management also took on board the PSA’s concerns about poor planning, where temporary officers are ceased as a result of funding, only to find that new recruitment occurs a short time afterwards. They recognise this is not in their interests particularly where they pay severances to people exiting the workplace.
- Note – the PSA has requested written clarification of the employer’s criteria for determining when severance payments are applicable to officers on fixed term contracts.
In terms of ongoing funding, David Witherdin expressed optimism saying there was a growth in full-time roles and a number of new projects that have been agreed to. He committed to talk to the PSA if that changes.
People Matters survey
This is another standard item on the agenda placed there at the PSA’s request. David advised he will provide LLS’s action plan. He recognised the importance of PDPs and other forms of communication and feedback as issues stemming from previous surveys. The PSA expressed the importance of consistent advice and information from management.
Members should note this year’s survey is pending (it may be out as you read this) and we strongly urge you to put forward your views. It is an evidential tool for the PSA actively putting forward the views of employees and allowing us to press for strategies to resolve concerns.
The highest number of incidents in LLS clearly relates to driving. Some of the instances relate to animal strikes and others to fatigue. We are advised that Safe Driving Courses for staff have received a positive response. The PSA urges our members to make safety their most important consideration. The well-known phrase “don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today” should have the word “safety” in it.
Mental health issues were discussed and we are advised programs to assist have been developed and are being taken up. This recognises dealing with people with mental health issues (sometimes impacted by the stressors upon them due to drought and other factors) as well as employees with their own concerns. These are difficult and complex issues and need to be recognised and supported.
The PSA has also had discussions regarding management of asbestos in the large number and variety of sites and offices managed by LLS. We have been provided with LLS’s policy and have advised that we will write to it to raise some problems that require addressing.
Employment health assessments
There have been several incidents where substantively employed staff have been sent for health assessments when they have applied for other roles within the organisation. For example a Biosecurity Support Officer applying for a promotional position as a Biosecurity Officer. The PSA has brought some of these incidents to the employer’s attention. As a result, LLS has acknowledged this is not required but advises the PSA it believes there may be some exceptions; as we understand it where there are particular health and safety requirements of a role.
Management advise ir will provide clarification and have discussions on these exceptions. The PSA has not agreed to any such assessments at this stage.
If you are sent for one you should contact you delegate or the PSA.
The PSA has had ongoing discussions over a period of time in relation to the reason codes in the SAP system for sick leave. It is our view that categories such as ‘Pregnancy Rel/Gyna’, ‘Stress/Mental Health’, ‘Infection’ or ‘War Service’ are intrusive, insensitive and (in terms of the first category above) also gender-biased.
The PSA was advised at the recent JCC that no changes would be made to the current listing as it was too costly an exercise.
The option exists for employees to use ‘Discussed/Confiden’ and the PSA urges that members exercise this option. Alternately where appropriate a staff member may choose to use the option ‘Medical – other’.
Where concerns exist please make contact with your delegate or the PSA.