The following is an update that has been written by Vice-Chair of the Juvenile Justice Departmental Committee, Suzi Evans and PSA Industrial Staff.
It’s been a very busy few weeks for PSA business.
PSA Annual Conference
PSA Annual Conference and Country Conference was held on 29, 30 and 31 May 2019 in Sydney.
Definitely the most comprehensive Conference that delegates have been to, to date. The Conference acknowledged and celebrated the PSA milestone of 120 years strong 1899-2019.
Also, the Juvenile Justice Departmental Committee was awarded the PSA’s Work Health Safety Award 2019.
Sunday, 9th June Cease Unsafe Work
Many thanks to those who participated in the Cease Unsafe Work on Sunday,
9 June 2019, both those on shift and those who came in on their day off or leave. All the support we can muster will lead to a positive result for members. It goes without saying, united we stand!
The matter was listed conciliation at the NSW Industrial Relations Commission, even though it was a WHS issue.
The PSA was able to gain the following concessions:
- A communication is to be sent to all Centres within the next 24 hours by the Department that 18-year old detainees who assaults a staff member or detainee. Juvenile Justice will look to take reasonable steps in transferring the detainee to Corrective Services.
- Juvenile Justice will arrange a meeting with DC delegates as soon as possible with the Secretary for FACS & Justice.
- The PSA and Juvenile Justice to meet and discuss amendments to the Detention Centre Act.
As a result, a number of 18-year olds have been moved to the MRCC. A meeting with Secretary Michael Coutts-Trotter took place on Thursday, 13 June 2019 and discussions continue around amendments to the Detentions Centres Act.
The 13 June meeting was attended by Michael Coutts-Trotter, Secretary for FACS and Justice, Simone Walker, Child Protection and Permanency, District and Youth Justice Services Deputy Secretary, Melanie Hawyes Executive Director, Steve Southgate – Director Statewide Operations, Reece Collins, Director Human Resources JJ, Linda Joachim HR Advisor JJ.
Troy Wright A/General Secretary PSA, Julie Bond Senior Industrial Relations Officer, Anne Kennelly – A/Industrial Manager Justice, Members of the JJ Departmental Committee from all centres. The outcomes from this meeting were communicated by Ms Hawyes via email that afternoon, and said the following:
Today we agreed to dedicate the Bouddi unit at Baxter to accommodate a small number of high risk detainees with enhanced custodial supervision and specialised behaviour management services on site – the LINKS service. I intend to visit Baxter tomorrow with Troy Wright from the PSA, Belinda Edwards from LINKS and others to meet with staff and start the set up process in Baxter, in consultation with our partner agencies.
We would like the unit and support service to be brought on line as soon as possible.
The immediate actions agreed today with the PSA and JJ delegates are:
- Two additional staff on the YOCS team at Frank Baxter to bring down the increased tension in the centre and enable rapid response to any further incidents.
- We will start to set up local arrangements to utilise the Bouddi at the Frank Baxter facility to accommodate up to 5 high risk detainees.
- We will engage the FACS LINKS service to support us on site.
The specialist LINKS teams include:
- mental health clinicians
- Aboriginal mental health clinicians
- occupational therapists
- speech pathologists
The PSA sees this as a promising development in our long running dispute around workplace violence. PSA A/General Secretary, Troy Wright and Senior Industrial Officer, Julie Bond went to Baxter on Friday, 15 June to look at the Bouddi facility.
Departmental Committee (DC) and Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) Meetings
Obviously, both these meetings were heavily weighted in the Cease Unsafe Work action of last Sunday, the horrendous assaults across all centres – especially Cobham and Baxter across that weekend – the very lengthy standoff at Baxter (YP on roof with projectiles – some of those set on fire).
The JCC, held on Wednesday 12 June 2019, was at times quite heated but always respectful. It was very empowering to have A/General Secretary PSA, Troy Wright attend the meeting and speak on behalf of the members. It was a true illustration of how important the issue of safety is – both for frontline staff and the YP – and how desperate members have become at the inaction of the Department.
Discussion around improving safety took up the bulk of this meeting and was a
precursor to our meeting with Michael Coutts-Trotter. Other items briefly touched on were:
- Attention TEMPS: Standing Agenda item 4.2 –Filling vacancies/use of casual pool
The GSE compliance issue appears to have been resolved. Melanie Hawyes is waiting for a completion of this information by the very reliable Nicole Christoph, Principal Industrial Advocate JJ, in the very near future.
- There was also discussion around the new search policy with some centres having concerns about the risk of contraband coming into the units. With the introduction of the new policy there will be a “monitor and review” approach. As yet, there appears to be no additional contraband in centres, with the main items, such as rocks, being obtained inside centres.
PSA NSW Justice Sector Legal Fund
This Legal Fund will assist you with any alleged criminal offence arising out of or in the course of employment.
Of course, the PSA as with other unions, already covers us for industrial relations matters. However, this cover, at $104 per year, is above and beyond. This can be paid in a lump sum or as an additional $4 per pay, with your usual union dues deduction, over the course of the year.
You can join the Justice Legal Fund HERE.
Finally, the PSA had been informed by Justice IR that staff who ceased unsafe work on 9 June will not be paid. See Bulletins HERE. Despite making representations to Justice IR for members to be paid, they are refusing to pay staff. Accordingly, the PSA has notified a Dispute with the NSW Industrial Relations Commission on Tuesday 18 June 2019. The matter was listed for conciliation Wednesday 19 June. A further bulletin will be sent with an update on this.
What can you do in the meantime:
- Ask a work colleague join the PSA today
- Make the union strong by forwarding this bulletin to your colleagues
- Attend PSA meetings at your worksite
- Get involved become a PSA Delegate
- Not a member? JOIN online!
Your PSA staff
Julie Bond – Senior Industrial Officer
Gino Di Candilo – Industrial Officer
Leonie Wright – Organiser