The PSA recently filed a dispute with the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (‘IRC’) regarding significant organisational changes and restructuring of the agency implemented throughout 2021 which have been made without any consultation with the PSA.
We now provide an update of this important issue since our last Bulletin which can be found HERE.
The IRC dispute was listed before Commissioner O’Sullivan for Conciliation on Monday 17 January 2022. Victims Services (‘VS’) was represented by an Employee Relations officer although unusually, there was no attendance by any management representative which highlights the lack of regard not only for their mandatory consultation obligations under the Award but would also seem to be a clear snub to the IRC jurisdiction including the important function of the IRC to resolve industrial disputes.
VS has ignored our repeated requests to provide Change Management Plans or to provide particulars of the rationale and impact of numerous organisational changes implemented since the previous Organisational Chart dated September 2020. The PSA has repeatedly conveyed member concerns to VS management including that the extensive workplace changes have resulted in the merging of roles to form new team structures; changes to reporting lines; the deletion of roles and the unfilled vacancy of at least 15 roles across the agency.
The VS representative maintained the VS management line that ‘there is nothing to see here’ and refused to acknowledge that substantial workplace changes to nine teams within the agency during 2021 and 15 current role vacancies requires consultation with the PSA.
This is nothing more than a continuation by VS management of the dismissive approach to legitimate member issues and concerns which our members articulated very clearly in the recent PSA member survey. When the PSA wrote to VS management last year and provided detailed particulars of member concerns, VS management responded that it would not be engaging with the PSA in respect of those member concerns even though similar concerns were expressed in the agency’s continued poor showing in the 2021 People Matter Employee Survey (‘PMES’).
Members will recall this sounds very familiar because VS management parroted similar rhetoric during an earlier IRC consultation dispute filed in 2020, summarised in a previous Bulletin which can be found HERE.
Your union emphasised that VS has repeatedly failed to consult with the PSA in advance of workplace changes and restructuring and reiterated that VS has been flouting its legal obligations to consult with the PSA under the Award. The PSA reiterated that VS should commit to cooperative, collaborative and proper consultation in relation to any substantial workplace changes affecting our members.
IRC directions on 17 January 2022
Commissioner O’Sullivan made the following directions agreed to by the VS representative:
- VS to furnish, by Friday 21 January 2022, a response to the PSA letter to Ms Michelle Vaughan, Commissioner of Victims’ Services dated 16 November 2021 and particularly to address the following matters:
(i) What changes have occurred?
(ii) What is the rationale for the changes?
(ii) What is the impact of the changes?
- VS and the PSA to have discussions regarding improvements to consultation between Victims Services and the PSA going forward; and
- IRC matter listed for Report Back before Commissioner O’Sullivan on Friday 4 February 2022.
The department provided a written response after the deadline in which they replied to the wrong letter being an earlier unanswered letter from the PSA. The VS response asserted that VS management has ‘provided a response to all questions in which a response can be provided … the only questions that remain unanswered is because the PSA has yet to identify the employees with those concerns’.
The PSA reiterates that we will not identify any members without their express permission to do so and most importantly that the PSA has provided more than enough information for management to act on.
The PSA has written to the department requesting a response to the first direction above including to follow up our previous requests for VS management to provide particulars of the rationale and impact of extensive organisational changes reflected in the updated Organisational Chart dated 20 September 2021.
The PSA will provide an update to members following the next IRC listing on 4 February 2022.
Farewell to PSA delegate Nathan Rodrigues
The PSA extends our thanks to Nathan Rodrigues, PSA delegate for his invaluable assistance and advocacy on behalf of PSA members at Victims Services. Nathan has accepted a role with the NSW Ombudsman and we wish him the best of luck.
We are awaiting confirmation of a new delegate, and will send further communication shortly.
The strength of the union is determined by its membership and delegates in the workplace. If you are interested in a role, or participating in any way, please contact your PSA staff: