With the Assistance of the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC), the PSA and Department have been in consultation to replace the existing Ministerial Drivers’ Salaries and Conditions Determination with an Award.
It is the PSA’s preferred position to have our members’ conditions of employment contained in an Award which ensures a greater level of protection and means that those conditions can’t be removed at the whim of management.
In our previous bulletin we provided you with a copy of the draft Award and on Friday 3 March 2023, met with a number of drivers and the PSA Solicitor who explained where the negotiations are up to and the concerns the PSA has.
At this meeting, the PSA outlined the following areas where we have not reached agreement with management and believe that if we were to accept management’s position there would be a significant loss of conditions currently enjoyed by members, these concerns are:
In the draft Award, ‘Metropolitan Sydney’ is defined as a 75km radius from 52 Martin Place Sydney. This definition is relevant to the payment of a Lunch Allowance under clause 12.4 and has been the subject of extensive discussion, with various definitions being debated.
It was the PSA’s position that a 50km radius (as provided in cl 29.1.3 of the Public Service Conditions of Employment Award) from 52 Martin Place Sydney was preferable to three defined points (Gosford, Wollongong and Mount Victoria) on a map forming a triangle as proposed by the Department.
The Department has indicated they agree to using a radius but will not consider less than a 75km radius from 52 Martin Place.
Breakfast Meal Allowance
This will be paid to employees who are directed to commence work before 6:00am and Dinner Meal Allowance will be paid to employees who are directed to finish work after 7:00pm. This has two elements that need to be considered:
- Employees who commence work at precisely 6:00am or cease work at 7:00pm are not entitled to a breakfast or dinner allowance as has previously been the case. The employee must commence work prior to 6:00am or cease work after 7:00pm to be eligible for an allowance.
- An employee is directed to commence work before 6:00am or finish work after 7:00pm if they are so directed by their manager or by the Minister or Officer Holder (with the approval of the Employee’s manager). In either case, the manager must approve of the Employee commencing or ceasing work at that time.
This will no longer be paid.
The Clothing Allowance
Including the cash amount of that allowance, this has been included in the Award. The payment will be two equal six monthly instalments of $450 net to be paid each year.
We have been advised that the Department will only recognise the time of pick up or drop off as your start or end of shift. The one exception to this is when a pick up or drop off is outside of a 75km radius of 52 Martin Place.
We have advised the Department that this is contrary to long held custom and practice but they remain committed to their position. This will impact upon a driver’s ability to claim breakfast and dinner allowances and may result in Work Health and Safety concerns.
It is the PSA’s view that we should proceed to arbitration in the IRC for the making of the Award. This will allow us to present our evidence to the Commission as to why your conditions of employment and existing custom and practice should be retained and incorporated into the new Award.
We will be seeking to confine the arbitration to the matters in dispute.
What does this mean?
The PSA is before the IRC on Wednesday 8 March 2023. On this day, the Commission may ask the parties to engage in further conciliation or make orders for arbitration. The PSA will be seeking further conciliation to assist us to narrow the issues at arbitration. However, the Department has indicated they may not agree to further conciliation.
These matters do not move quickly and at this time the PSA would not expect an available listing in the Commission for arbitration until mid-year at the earliest.
The PSA acknowledges that a number of concerns have been raised in relation to WHS and whether your management has the correct process and systems in place and are properly following the required Codes of Practice.
The PSA will be following up separately with your management to ensure that the appropriate WHS systems are in place, these matters are separate from the Award discussions and if there are WHS concerns, they need to be addressed as soon as is reasonably practicable to do so.
This vote will close at 4.00 pm on Tuesday 7 March 2023. The results of the vote will be conveyed to members shortly afterwards.
Yes – Support the PSA position of proceeding to arbitration to make the Award
No – Happy to accept Managements position and loss of conditions
You can vote HERE.