As per our last update to members, the PSA had notified OEH of a dispute regarding their plan to restrict recruitment to new SFS 3 roles to be limited in the first instance to SFS, FS and SFO staff only. Despite the PSA informing OEH in November 2017 of our view that the Government Sector Employee Rules do not allow recruitment to be restricted in this way, OEH decided to proceed with this course of action regardless. OEH went so far as making a deal for a new Award with the AWU offering them this “restriction” in return.
The PSA warned OEH in writing of this restriction on the 13th December 2017, click HERE to view.
As a result of ignoring the PSA’s considered industrial knowledge, the PSA has been involved in conciliation of this matter in the Industrial Relations Commission on Monday 19th March, Monday 26th March and Thursday 5th April. This conciliation involved the PSA, OEH and the AWU.
The PSA re-iterated our position that the PSA were not advocating for any group of staff to be automatically selected for the roles, only that they are given the opportunity to apply, with merit guiding who was successful in their application. We also re-iterated our position that we believe all affected staff should be eligible to apply, but in the interests of resolving the matter without need for further delay, were discussing classifications.
As a result of this conciliation, the PSA can confirm that the Industrial Relations Commission made a strong recommendation that OEH advertise the positions in accordance with a practical and just compromise reached under the chairmanship of the Commission between the PSA and OEH, which extends the applications in the first instance to:
- Senior Rangers
- Project/Research Officer 1/2
- Project/Research Officer 3/4
- Technical Officers
- Senior Technical Officers
- Departmental Professional Officers 3
- Strategic Programs Officer
- Any other Clerk 7/8 or above
In making this recommendation, the IRC gave reasons for this, including that the PSA contention appears to have substantial merit.
It is important to note that the PSA made representations for other classifications of staff to be included in the above list, including Field Officers. Their inclusion was not agreed to, however OEH gave an undertaking that no PSA Field Officers were affected by the restructure; as such we had no coverage basis in including Field Officers further.
In combination with the recent Salary Maintenance win, the PSA has been vindicated by its recent results in the Industrial Relations Commission. If OEH spent more time considering the views of the PSA and its members, and less time trying to ram through ill-thought out deals, a considerable amount of stress and adverse effects would have been avoided. The PSA will continue to fight for our members throughout the current restructure and beyond.
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