On 24 September I emailed you about the meetings that have been organised by the PSA/CPSU on Monday 8 October 2012 to hear the PSA Executive update members on the NSW Government’s attack on the NSW public sector and to outline the union’s campaign to oppose the attacks.
Further on 26 September all PSA/CPSU members received a letter from John Cahill, State Branch Secretary about 8 October.
The Union’s advice to members in TAFE has been clear and consistent. Whilst we urge you to attend one of the union meetings organised for 8 October you cannot take industrial action on the day. Instead you need to apply for leave to attend or take a flex day.
We have been informed that union members are being denied access to annual leave, and other forms of leave, including flex leave, for 8 October.
Staff have been told they are being denied leave based on the advice contained in a Circular number IRC12/18 from the Director of Industrial Relations Mr Mark Phillip.
The advice from DEC:
- falsely alleges the PSA/CPSU advised TAFE members to take protected industrial action on 8 October 2012. We did not.
- directs TAFE managers to refuse leave to TAFE employees wishing to attend one of the PSA/CPSU meetings on 8 October. The union has received advice that this direction is unlawful.
- states anyone taking sick leave or carers leave on Monday 8 October must provide a medical certificate. The union has received advice that this direction is unlawful.
The CPSU wrote to Mr Phillip yesterday (attached) requesting the Department issues a written clarification to all TAFE employees along the following lines:
The PSA/CPSU has at no stage advised members employed in TAFE NSW that they can take protected or unprotected industrial action on Monday 8 October 2012.
TAFE employees should not be prohibited from accessing leave because they intend to attend one of the PSA/CPSU meetings on Monday 8 October 2012.
A refusal to approve leave or flexitime because a TAFE employee intends to attend one of the PSA/CPSU meetings on Monday 8 October will breach the Fair Work Act and the relevant Enterprise Agreement.
A requirement for employees to provide a medical certificate for sick leave and carers leave for a single day may breach the relevant Enterprise Agreement.
We hope this amending advice will be issued. However there is a good chance the Department will refuse to see reason and will not issue the clarification.
If the Department refuses to change the advice members should still put in a written request for approved leave, flexi or adjusted core time for Monday to attend one of the PSA/CPSU meetings on 8 October (click on http://tinyurl.com/c9hhhhc to find a venue close to you).
Snr Industrial Officer