You have been identified by the PSA as a Works Support Officer in the Roads & Maritime Services Group. The terms and conditions of your working hours are set down under clause 45.2 in the RMS Consolidated Salaried Award 2019.
However, in a number of areas, there have been local arrangements with Managers whereby WSOs have been working in a manner that included flexitime under clause 23.2 (e) (i) – (xvii) of the RMS Award.
Prior to Christmas, the PSA and RMS Group have initiated discussions on the issues surrounding those unratified ‘local arrangements’. This has come about because of the recently negotiated changes to the Flexible Working Hours Agreement that was ratified by PSA members in 2019, and that will come into full effect in February 2020.
Concerned with the implications for WSOs who would become subject to the terms of the Flexible Working Hours Agreement, the RMS has considered two options:
- converting staff back to the terms of the RMS Award
- entering into a Local Arrangement under Clause 21 Local Arrangements of the RMS Award.
Considering the potential positive implications for WSOs (the ability to accrue more flex days; the ability to bank un-used flex days for public sector close-down and; the ability to take flex days consecutively) the PSA has completed ground work with TfNSW on the proposed local arrangement
The PSA is a democratic union. It is incumbent on the PSA to ensure that members are consulted and have their say and a vote on any potential changes to their conditions of employment. Members might have myriad questions that relate to how other conditions might be affected by the activation of flexitime and it is important that they know the consequences of any such decision.
So what’s the local arrangement proposal?
WSOs will become totally subject to the Clause 23.2 (e) (i) – (xvii) for their hours of work instead of clause 45.2. The current override to clause 23.2 (e) (i) – (xvii) is the conditions set down in new TfNSW, Sydney Metro & RMS Group Flexible Working Hours Agreement.
How does that affect my leave accruals and leave taken?
Currently, leave is credited or deducted in accordance with Clause 45.2 (d) at 7 hours 22 minutes for a “day”. The proposal is that leave is accrued or is deducted at 7 hours. This takes into consideration that staff will no longer effectively purchase a Rostered Day Off by working the extra 22 minutes per day over the four-week cycle.
What about the overtime provisions?
Staff subject to the Flexible Working Hours Agreement can accrue extra hours to take days off during the settlement period or to bank days to be expended for Public Sector shut-down. A staff member can choose overtime if they are being ‘directed’ to work by their management after (7) seven hours of duty. This does not include the time taken for your unpaid meal break.
So this is a permanent change?
No. As with all local arrangements, there is a duration, review and termination clause. TfNSW has proposed for a duration of the life of the RMS and TfNSW Awards with a review mechanism of 12 months and a termination mechanism of 12 months. That being said, this is as close to permanent as it gets.
Note: TfNSW has indicated its willingness to explore a more permanent arrangement into the future if the local arrangement is operating well and as intended.
But I just want to keep doing what I am doing
Whilst there is a custom and practice of staff working flexitime, it would be very difficult for the PSA to enforce the continuation of the current arrangements. It is either of these two options identified that can be industrially enforceable. The PSA has agreement that until such time as the Local Arrangement process is finalised, the status quo with regard to your hours of work will remain.
Who votes on the proposed local arrangement?
Members of the PSA are the only WSO staff who will get a say on the acceptance/rejection of the proposed Local Arrangement. The PSA will begin consultation with affected staff in earnest. Whilst the PSA endorses the making of this local arrangement, it is the members that have the power. Staff can email their questions to PSA Organiser firstname.lastname@example.org.
The PSA will then ballot WSO members via email (Survey Monkey) in order to obtain consent of the membership and then Stewart Little, PSA General Secretary will provide necessary sign off to TfNSW.
Not a member?
You can join HERE.