PSA commences consultation with Multicultural NSW
First Joint Consultative Committee
On 27 September 2018, PSA industrial staff and newly elected workplace delegates met at Parramatta with Acting CEO, Ross Hawkey, FACS HR Business Partner, Priya Dewan and HR Manager, Joanne Church for the JCC. A preparatory meeting between delegates and PSA industrial staff was held on 13 September 2018 to identify agenda items.
Terms of Reference for consultation (JCC)/the role of the delegate and union
As a basis for setting the JCC terms of reference, a copy of the 1997 Consultative Arrangements (July 1997) policy was provided, to highlight the principles for effective consultation.
Workplace Health and Safety (WH&S)
The PSA requested a WH&S report at each JCC. It was agreed the monthly WH&S committee reports will be provided. The delegate/HSR, presented information on the role of an HSR. Communication will be sent to all staff at Multicultural NSW from management, identifying the HSRs and reminding staff of processes for logging incident reports and respectful workplace notifications. MNSW agreed to replicate the ‘service now’ reporting forms for MNSW staff (which are currently inaccessible). It is unclear whether MNSW employees can currently access the FACS Respectful Workplace policy and procedures. HR agreed to confirm this.
The PSA raised member concerns about a realignment/restructure.
The acting CEO said there is no realignment and/or restructure, only plans to review the agency’s functions and communication between its four divisions. The PSA reminded management that meaningful consultation with the PSA is required if roles are deleted and/or role descriptions significantly altered, together with a Change Management Plan (CMP). The acting CEO conveyed MNSW is in the process of recruiting a new CEO and has been directed by the Minister to allow the new CEO to set the agency’s direction. It is envisaged the recruitment will be complete by December 2018. The agency is also subject to the Budget Estimates ‘Efficiency Dividend’ of 3% budget cuts each year for the next 4 years, commencing in 2018/19 financial year. The PSA made the point this does not bode well for proper resourcing and workload management. The acting CEO also identified March 2019 – the upcoming election – as a significant date for MCNSW’s planning. The PSA expects to be included in consultations concerning any matters of mutual interest and concern to our members in relation to this planning. This was agreed.
Alleged staffing freeze, back-filling vacancies
The PSA raised that multiple vacancies remain unfilled in teams for up to 8 months. Teams are burdened with heavy workloads due to roles being left vacant or filled with undertrained temporary contractors. The PSA asked management what they intend to do to rectify this. Management advised that until the appointment of the new CEO, vacancies identified as “pressure points” will be filled with temporary contractors.
The PSA reiterated that if these roles are currently ongoing, they should be filled permanently, not by contractors. Staff currently experiencing heavy workloads are advised to keep the PSA informed. The PSA conveyed that staff morale is low due to lack of information about the agency’s future. We recommended that management provide the information discussed to all staff as soon as possible.
Current organisational charts and role descriptions
The PSA requested a current Organisational Chart and corresponding role descriptions. The acting CEO pointed to the Annual Report. The PSA noted this no longer represents an accurate reflection of the roles undertaken and the work being done. For a clear picture of the “pressure points”, we recommended that the Org chart be updated and role descriptions clarified. The PSA indicated that many employees are operating in duties beyond their current role descriptions and this cannot be sustained.
Training budget and professional development plans
The acting CEO advised the rollout of online work development plans called “Success Factors”. These plans will be accessible to employees and should be utilised to record learning and development goals and desired training. The agency has an allocation of $2000 per person/p.a which can be pooled for group training. The PSA encourages members to seek out relevant professional training courses and to advise your manager.
Review date of the Crown Employees (Interpreters and Translators, Multicultural NSW) Award 2016
The PSA raised that the award for interpreters and translators in NSW is due to be reviewed. FACS gave an undertaking to come back to the PSA with next steps to commence the award review consultation process.
Katy Ambler ‑ Industrial Officer
Mary Jo Costache ‑ Organiser
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