Roads and Maritime Services Award negotiations – member update
Members would be aware that the PSA and combined unions have been negotiating the Roads and Maritime Services Consolidated Salaried Award 2017 since late 2018.
The previous bulletin had outlined the PSA and combined unions Log of Claim and the strategy for the negotiations. Some of these claims identified costs that were over the current wages cap of 2.5 per cent.
What has happened since?
Re-elected NSW Government
The re-elected Liberal Government will continue with the current Wages Regulation which caps public sector salaries at 2.5 per cent. To enable salaries above the 2.5% cap, the PSA and combined unions would need to offset those increases by finding ‘employment related cost savings’. These consist of two matters: employees’ jobs or employees’ conditions of employment. Neither are matters the PSA will negotiate upon. Therefore, the PSA and combined unions have sought to augment their claims so that there are less requirements on finding offsets.
NSW Government decision to subsume RMS functions
On 1 April 2019, the PSA and combined unions were informed of the Government decision to subsume RMS functions via leaked material to The Sydney Moring Herald. Whilst the PSA and combined unions can continue to negotiate and ratify these Awards, there are much larger questions as to how this wold work as part of the subsuming of RMS into functions into TfNSW. With roles in each agencies that could be considered the same, is there potential for disadvantage?
What are the priorities now?
Term of the Award
Previously, the PSA and combined unions were agnostic on the terms of the Award. RMS had previously offered one year, with 2.5 per cent increases. With the re-election of the Liberal Government and the decisions to subsume functions of the RMS into TfNSW, the issue of term has become far more important. Accordingly, the PSA and combined unions have sought a far longer term: three years. This is done to protect the salaries and conditions of RMS staff whilst the amalgamation processes continue.
With subsumption of RMS operational functions, the notion of job security provisions has become far more important – especially with this re-elected Government and its ideology of public sector privatisations.
Flexible Working Hours provisions
The PSA is still continuing with the claims for better and more flexible working hours provisions. The TfNSW group is one of the only ‘super departments’ that does not have a comprehensive working hours agreement. With lost and unrecognised hours remaining an issue for members, an agreement would partially offset some of this disadvantage identified by members.
Development of The Surveillance Officer Competency Framework
PSA representatives are due to meet with RMS Managers and develop a clause that will deal with several issues identified by Surveillance Officer members.
What remains outstanding?
- Agreement on the length of term for the Award.
- Agreement on job security provisions.
- Agreement on a Flexible Working Hours Agreement.
- Agreement on Domestic Violence and Altruistic Surrogacy provisions.
- Agreement on a SO Competency Framework including Works Supervisors
- Agreement on the calculation of Overtime in the Incident Management Clause.
- Agreement on Maritime Specific clauses.
Some of these claims must be approved by central government processes and that has taken up vital time when the 30 June 2019 deadline is fast approaching.
The PSA and combined unions are set to continue to negotiate the RMS Award to an ‘in-principle’ position. The terms of that position can then be voted on by the PSA membership as part of the democratic processes within our union.
The timeframes are important, as a consent application must be filed with the Industrial Relations Commission of NSW and ratified by 30 June 2019 in order for members to receive the 2.5 per cent increase at the earliest date possible.