Open plan office in Grants Division – Legal Aid management attempt to open Pandora’s Box - Public Service Association

Open plan office in Grants Division – Legal Aid management attempt to open Pandora’s Box

Open plan office in Grants Division – Legal Aid management attempt to open Pandora’s Box – September 2018 (PDF version)

Legal Aid have begun implementation of an Open Plan Office, without ANY PSA consultation. Consultation is an essential process for any major changes in your workforce, as it is a way to ensure your voice is heard, and that your rights are not compromised. The PSA only became aware of Legal Aid’s plans from distressed members. This is despite the fact that the PSA has been in contact with the CEO about various Work Health and Safety issues within Grants for some time. This suggests that management do not care about the impact of major workplace changes upon employees.

The introduction of an open plan office at the Grants Division is part of a worrying trend. As members may be aware Legal Aid have attempted to introduce an open plan set up in the Parramatta Legal Aid office. The PSA lodged a dispute in the Industrial Relations Commission and was able to stop the Parramatta open plan office set up.

Open plan offices are primarily introduced from a desire to increase integration and collaboration, however, it has been shown that open plan offices in fact do the opposite. Open plan offices have been found to decrease productivity, decrease face-to-face contact and increase stress, chronic illness, and mental health issues. Despite the overwhelming evidence, Legal Aid still think open plan offices are a good idea. This is remarkable considering the high levels of stress and dissatisfaction in the Grants Division as documented in the People Matter Survey Results.

Currently, within the Public Service, the only two agencies with solicitors that are not in an open plan office are Legal Aid and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution. The ODPP understand the importance of confidentiality in matters that solicitors deal with. However Legal Aid’s proposed plan to move to an open office set up suggests that client confidentially is only a secondary consideration.

The introduction of an open plan office in the Grants Division indicates that Legal Aid may very well begin introducing the open plan office set up in other areas.

Members in Legal Aid over many years have fought long and hard for your rights at work. This includes keeping your offices.

The PSA stands strongly against any introduction of open plan offices. Open plan offices are extremely detrimental to employee health and the ability of employees to work effectively. The PSA is made up of employees just like you who want what’s best for their workplace and their colleagues. Make your voice heard by becoming active today.

The best way to keep your rights at work is to get involved.

  • Talk to your co-workers about this issue
  • Share this bulletin with your workmates
  • Ask your co-workers to join the union to keep up the fight
  • Attend PSA meetings at your workplace
  • Get involved and become a local contact

Your PSA Staff:

Monika Wunderlin – PSA Industrial Officer
mwunderlin@psa.asn.au

Kirra Jackson – PSA Organiser
kjackson@psa.asn.au

PSA ~ Working Hard for members.
Call 1300 PSA NSW (1300 772 679)

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