Following Statewide POVB industrial action taken on Friday, 13 April 2018, Industrial Relations Commissioner Murphy conducted inspections at the Long Bay complex on Wednesday, 16 May and South Coast Correctional Centre on Friday, 18 May 2018.
Prior to Commissioner Murphy’s inspections at Long Bay, CSNSW conducted a revised process to the Benchmarking consultation phase at MSPC and Long Bay Hospital. Director Glen Scholes worked together with local Benchmarking Committees to produce revised proposals for each centre. The MSPC proposal has been finalised with revised staffing numbers and was presented to staff at the centre. The LBH proposal is near completion and will be presented to staff in the coming days. Both proposals have a significant increase in safe staffing numbers compared to the original CSNSW proposal.
When Commissioner Murphy inspected the Long Bay Complex, he thanked the Members for their co-operation throughout this process and was pleased that progress was being made. The SPC will commence this process on Wednesday, 23 May 2018.
At South Coast CC, POVB Delegates explained the issues experienced since moving into the Benchmarking implementation phase. Weekend and public holidays continue to be difficult due to having only one Functional Manager on duty.
The dispute continues regarding SCOs performing duties that were once those of Assistant Superintendents and the expectation from Functional Managers for SCOs to perform those duties. The inability for staff to take their crib break due to the deletion of relieving posts was also raised.
Commissioner Murphy was given an opportunity to see first hand the conditions staff face both at Long Bay and South Coast CC, discussing with staff and Delegates who were given an opportunity to explain our issues in terms of Benchmarking.
We will be in the IRC in coming weeks to report back on the issues raised during Commissioner Murphy’s inspections. Once a hearing date is listed we will notify Members via a Bulletin.
The POVB State Executive attended a COPP Review Committee meeting on Tuesday, 15 May 2018. This meeting was attended by Senior Management of Justice Health and several issues were raised. Issuing Epipens to inmates was raised as a safety concern (6.8 Medications). Some Correctional Centres already issue Epipens to inmates who require them, however it is still a safety concern for the majority of Centres who have never issued Epipens to inmates. Governors at each Centre are to formulate LOPs and this should be done in consultation with POVB Delegates and WHS Committees.
Inmates with Notifiable Diseases was also raised. Due to inmate privacy laws, we were advised by Justice Health to consider every inmate infectious, as Justice Health will not disclose if a particular inmate is infectious or not.
Justice Health is working together with CESU Management to issue written procedures for CESU staff in terms of medication distribution to inmates. Currently there are no written instructions in terms of issuing medication and the POVB have requested that procedures be issued for the protection of staff at those centres.
Justice Health also requested consultation in regards to monitoring inmates who require medical supervision in the safe cells at the MRRC. It was raised that this would have a profound impact on the availability of those cells for inmates at risk of self-harm or suicide, as there is already a backlog of those inmates being held in court cells locations awaiting placement at the MRRC.
Sight or Sound Policy was also discussed. However, there seems to be some reluctance for CSNSW to write a policy or principle. This issue has been raised due to Benchmarking where CSNSW has introduced the concept of self-relief in order for staff to take their crib break due to the deletion of reliving posts leaving Officers ‘one-out’ in wings. It has been suggested that sight or sound is maintained as that Officer is in a secure work station in the wing, is on camera and in radio or telephone contact.
The POVB are totally opposed to this concept of sight or sound and will continue to fight for sight or sound principles where Officers work closely together in the immediate vicinity of each other and are not forced to work ‘one-out’ with inmates.
Assault Committees are currently being discussed, and we are working towards a policy that supports staff who become the victims of an assault by an inmate. The Assault Committee will be formed locally at each Correctional Centre and will be overseen by the local Work Health and Safety Committee. The COPP Review team is currently working to develop a checklist and package that will be supported by a new policy. It was also pointed out that many assaults are not being recorded on OIMS but being recorded as ‘use of force’. This doesn’t give a true reflection of staff assaults when CSNSW produces statistics.
All staff will be required to complete the COPP training package by the end of June. The POVB State Executive will continue to raise any policy related issues on behalf of Members.
The PSA arranged a meeting between the POVB and COVB State Executives. The meeting was requested by the COVB Members at Long Bay and MRRC who supported POVB industrial action on Friday, 13 April 2018. There were discussions regarding working closer together to support each other through the benchmarking dispute. It was agreed we would meet together on a quarterly basis for further discussions.
Industrial Action Agreements
On Wednesday, 2 May, the POVB State Executive attended a meeting with CSNSW Senior Management and the Governors of JMCC, Dillwynia, Wellington and Mid North Coast CC. CSNSW wishes to re-negotiate staffing levels at those ‘Island Award’ centres following POVB industrial action taken on 13 April 2018.
JMCC was to have a staffing agreement implemented when it transitioned to the new ‘privatised’ model in November 2017. However, no agreement was negotiated which caused much confusion for POVB Members on 13 April 2018. An Industrial Action Staffing agreement was reached for JMCC on Monday, 14 May 2018. The POVB will provide a ‘B’ watch staffing model over all three shifts with all inmates to be in full lock down.
The POVB State Executive has notified CSNSW that it does not consider any other industrial action staffing agreement to be valid other than the JMCC agreement. We have requested any supporting evidence to suggest that the POVB are obliged to implement industrial action staffing agreements in any other Correctional Centre.
Industrial Relations Commission – MRRC Sick Leave Conversion
On 10 May 2018 we were before Commissioner Stanton due to the Governor at MRRC not approving staff to convert sick leave to recreation leave when a medical certificate is supplied.
The Governor believed he could impose this action so staff would have a block of leave to enable them to have leave away from the workplace.
The delegates at MRRC raised this issue to the Executive and PSA/POVB believed that this was outside of the award conditions. PSA engaged legal representation from McNally Jones and Staff as this action could have effect over all Departments.
The final outcome was successful in maintaining award conditions. I would like to thank the delegates Mark Hutchinson and Brent Samyia on their assistance with this matter not only with information but with their attendance at the IRC giving valuable input to the proceedings.