Dispute regarding Log of Claims
You would hopefully have seen in our last bulletin that the combined unions notified Transport for NSW (TfNSW) of a dispute concerning the negotiation process.
We met with TfNSW on Friday, 1 April 2022 to discuss a resolution. TfNSW continued to deflect from the issue claiming that it was sufficient to engage in discussions with the unions without their bargaining parameters and therefore authority to commence negotiations, nor logs of claims. They could not provide specific dates as to when they would have their bargaining parameters and could not tell the Unions where the approval was stuck.
All TfNSW could guarantee was:
- it is currently not seeking to make significant variations to the current provisions of the Award.
- it would seek a two-year term for the Awards.
- it would provide a response to the combined unions’ logs of claims by 7 April 2022 and our specific WHS claims and Flexibility claims on or before 29 April 2022 due to leave.
The continued disrespect of not being able to table their claims nor have the proper authority under NSW Government policy is unacceptable. As such, the unions lodged a dispute in the IRC which was listed for conference on Tuesday, 5 April 2022, where the Commission has sought the parties to continue to engage and TfNSW to respond to the combined unions’ logs of claims.
There is a report back scheduled for 11 April 2022 at 4:00pm.
To add insult to injury TfNSW has had the audacity to propose the unions that we consent to a four-week adjournment to the matter AND for discussions to continue so TfNSW can ‘gain additional details of the unions’ claims’. All the while TfNSW has no bargaining parameters to engage in the claims put forward, and you as employees, and your representatives at the table remain in the dark about the specific claims from TfNSW. With the adjournment being sought the potential is for negotiations to continue as they are until May with only two months left until the nominal expiry date.
The PSA will report back to members what occurs in the report back on 11 April 2022.
Award meeting: Remaining WHS and flexibility claims
Despite the ongoing dispute we have continued to meet with TfNSW to seek to as much traction as possible on your claims. The topic for negotiation were:
- Verbal responses to previously discussed WHS claims on reporting on workload (items 5 and 6)
- The remaining claims on WHS including a clause ensuring your right to disconnect from work in non –work time such as leave and paid time for union members when TfNSW commences
- Tabling of specific claims on flexibility, you can see the drafting undertaken by the PSA and combined unions HERE.
TfNSW after our last meeting investigated the capabilities to meet our claim for TfNSW to report on the number of hours’ employees are forfeiting (item 5). The response from TfNSW was there would be great difficulty in pulling the data without errors. As was pointed out to TfNSW this type of data should also be of interest to them and should be readily available, particularly in this day and age. After suggestions from the combined unions, TfNSW committed to further looking into whether the data could be pulled accurately.
Concerning our claim about the employer proactively managing workloads through the monitoring of an employee’s hours (item 6), TfNSW considered this to be unnecessary. TfNSW’s verbal response was it did not want to make such a broad statement in the Award about recognising the negative impacts unreasonably high workloads can have on employees. Further, it considered it to be a policy issue. After the PSA pointed out similar obligations existed and pressed for TfNSW to consider the substance of the clause, TfNSW advised it would take these points on board prior to its final written response.
The claim relating to the right to disconnect (claim 8) are becoming increasingly necessary as technology and working from home allows work to encroach further into our personal lives. he combined unions argued such a claim goes someway to protecting employees’ work life balance. TfNSW believed it was unnecessary and there were already measures in place to enable employees to have work-life balance.
The final WHS claim discussed concerned members being provided with paid time to meet with the union when the employer institutes consultation under the WHS Act. TfNSW again considered this unnecessary and believes members should be able to schedule their day to allow them time.
The PSA and combined unions tabled with TfNSW essentially two draft clauses:
- A clause for both TfNSW and RMS awards that reflects the hybrid ways of working, importantly the flexibility that is contained in that policy. As well as further protecting the rights of employee’s to flexible work arrangements.
- A clause which incorporates the Flexible Working Hours Agreement which though operates as a clause in the Award sits outside of it.
TfNSW is considering these clauses and will provide a written response on or before 29 April 2022.
You would have seen in our logs of claims the PSA has included a wage claim of a minimum 3.6 per cent or inflation, whichever is higher. The negotiations are yet to touch on our wage claim, however the PSA is launching a campaign in TfNSW and across the public sector to push for a decent pay rise.
The PSA’s campaign is pushing for an end to the NSW Liberal-National Government’s unfair Public Sector Wages cap of 2.5 per cent. Your union recognises the hard work and dedication of TfNSW members bring to the public and not only throughout this pandemic. You have kept this state moving. You deserve a pay rise, not a pay cut.
To learn more about the campaign and to write to your MP and sign the petition, go to www.psa.asn.au.
The PSA will be holding a number of members’ meetings to discuss the ongoing award negotiations and the campaign for a fair pay rise for all public servants. Attend whichever meeting works best for you, we are requiring registration for these meetings, just to get a better idea of how many people will be attending each one. These details will be kept confidential.
Meeting information is as follows:
Date Tuesday, 12 April 2022
Date Wednesday, 13 April 2022
Date Tuesday, 19 April 2022