Transport for NSW – Members Update 30 September 2019
As the Award negotiations have finalised and the agreements have been ratified, the PSA and combined unions have continued consultation with TfNSW on the Evolving Transport processes. TfNSW have established the Joint Consultative Group with unions to consult on the Evolving Transport processes and eventual reforms stemming from the dissolution of the RMS functions into TfNSW proper.
Legislation to Dissolve the RMS Still With NSW Parliament.
The Government’s second attempt at dissolving the RMS has passed the Lower House and are awaiting deliberations in the Upper House. You might recall that previously the first attempt was rather thwarted by the Unions with the assistance of the opposition and the cross-bench over the perceived lack of consultation on the implications for the dissolution. Unions NSW, the PSA and combined unions have continued with our discussions on the dissolution legislation with the Government, the Opposition, the cross-bench and TfNSW as part of the process. The extensive debate on the decriminalisation of abortion has hampered its passage. There are a number of amendments that the unions have sought – some of them involve workforce protections.
To see the amendments sought, click HERE.
3A Phase – Further lifts-and-Shifts – Workforce Re-alignment
The first lifts-and-shifts were done with a level of expediency in mind (1 July 2019) with the intended changes in legislation to dissolve the RMS. TfNSW have continued those processes with a view to determining the best divisional fit for business units whilst developing a complete understanding of the divisional models through a number of workshops with staff and combined unions.
Work has also begun on re-aligning some reporting structures in the branches that have been lifted-and-shifted. This includes the likes of the combined Freight Branch and Property and Real Estate.
There will be further reporting on re-alignment as the process continues.
As for those reforms that were in-flight before 1 April 2019, the PSA is seeking information on what will continue and what will be wrapped up in eventual reforms.
The PSA and combined unions are yet to be provided with definitive divisional budgets. This makes the process of being able to consult on what work and structures should be facilitated or located in new Divisions, difficult at best. It is envisaged that these will be finalised shortly and unions will be informed at subsequent JCGs. Be aware that the Government efficiency dividend (better known as a funding cut) is set at 3% this year and for the next three years.
As with most reform led by TfNSW, the agency is seeking to develop top-line structures as part of the Evolving Transport reform. It is envisaged that this phase will look extensively at TSSE structures, however, this might include some TSSMs. Members should be aware that TfNSW is obliged to follow directions from the Government on reducing the Senior Executive Service by 10% and that this will begin as part of this process. However, TfNSW stressed that the requirements for SES reductions would not be the main driver for reform. There is not a definitive number for reductions, it being based on total SES salaries.
3-B2 Phase – Similar Roles Different Grades (RMS Group Vs TfNSW) – Temporary/Fixed Appointments Conversions – Contingent Labour Review
The PSA has previously mentioned the issue of similar or same roles in the two agencies being graded or capability assessed differently. Whilst the PSA has been provided with information that the numbers would appear less than originally estimated, there are still a number of roles with those similarities identified. The PSA has agreement from TfNSW that these roles will be examined after Phase 3-B1 is finalised. However, the PSA is aware that there are some roles at the TSSM levels that could also be caught up with this process.
Note: The PSA will seek further assistance from the membership in order to identify these roles.
The thresholds for the conversion of fixed/temporary employment to permanency after 24 months have now been met. Under clause 14.9 of the TfNSW Salaries & Conditions of Employment Award, staff who meet the entitlement should be made permanent.
TfNSW has committed to considerable review of contingent labour operations through the development of a workforce dashboard. Whilst the PSA acknowledges that the use of contingent labour has fallen, this makes up a very sizeable chunk of TfNSW’s budget and is another activity earmarked by Government for budgetary reductions.
Combining Policy and Procedures
TfNSW has embarked on a process identifying the differences between the current policies and procedures of both agencies in order to streamline processes. The process is not to re-prosecute the policies but to provide for a streamlined and consistent approach for the agency.
The first tranche of policies are those HR function activities i.e. pay, secondments, child protection etc.
Accommodation Strategy – Future Workplaces
The PSA began initial discussions on the Future Workplaces’ accommodation strategy in February 2019. The scope was significantly affected by the decisions of Government to dissolve the RMS and bring those functions into TFNSW. The combined unions met again with the Project Director on 26 September 2019 and received a high level briefing on the strategy and next steps.
There are six current TfNSW workplace leases that will end over the course of 2020 – Lee St, Help St, Zenith Tower A&B, Gifnock Ave and 477 Pitt Street. With the discontinuation of these leasing arrangements, it is envisaged there will be a movement of staff towards Macquarie Park and the Elizabeth Street offices.
The combined unions have put on the record to TfNSW that staff need a minimum of six months’ notice of the move and an understanding of where their divisional location will reside. The current divisional model reforms are having a negative effect on the timing of decisions of where and when staff will move.
This gives TfNSW little time to develop, adopt, inform and prepare members for the relocation process.
TfNSW has sought the assistance of Property NSW to extend some leases, having developed a Project Office to develop strategies in order to minimise disruption and unintended negative consequences for staff. TfNSW has committed to a considerable resourcing of the move.
The PSA advises members to begin discussions with managers (even if there is no understanding where staff will go right now) if there are envisaged issues with the relocation, sooner rather than later.
TfNSW/SYDNEY MET AND RMS Flexible Working Hours Agreement – Education and Implementation Piece
The PSA will be in TfNSW workplaces to discuss and educate members on the interpretations and implementations of the new Flexible Working Hours Agreements. The extensive agreement will be fully implemented early in the new year and it is important that members and managers understand their responsibilities.
The PSA wants to see this agreement work and the number one issue for a successful agreement is proper levels of communication and consultation between members, managers and business units. This is to include how/where/when and who will complete work and what time and resources are required.
Reading this and not a member? Happy with the Award increases and changes to flexibility provisions that have been negotiated by the collective action of members? Concerned that the future reform will affect your job?
It’s time to join your union now.