Advanced Correctional Officer (CO3) Assignments Dispute Update

17 November 2016


The PSA attended the SA Industrial Relations Commission (SAIRC) on 9 November 2016 for a further voluntary conference in relation to the ongoing dispute about the establishment numbers used for calculating the 30% benchmark for Advanced Correctional Officer (CO3) assignments.

The PSA advised the Commissioner of the following:

  • The PSA met with DCS on 17 October 2016 and had requested a summary of all CO2 staff by institution who were employed on 1 January 2013, including those who were on secondment, and the current total number of CO3 staff by institution.
  • That DCS has rejected the request for information and the PSA request for further meetings
  • The PSA explained that it intended to use this information to obtain a more accurate picture of the number of CO2 working in prisons on 1 January 2013 and how this compares with the total number of CO3 subsequently assigned

The PSA requested the Commissioner recommend that the information requested by the PSA be provided and further meetings with DCS be convened.

The employer responded stating that the data the PSA had requested was difficult to collate and that the issue was not about names on rosters and therefore the PSA request was not relevant.

The employer also raised the SA Fair Work Act which prescribes that the Industrial Relations Court is the appropriate jurisdiction for the interpretation of an enterprise agreement, as this matter involved the interpretation of an enterprise agreement.

DCS maintained that it had applied the CO3 clause in question more broadly than was required resulting in additional CO3 assignments. It also stated that it had no scope to assign additional numbers of CO3.

If the PSA continued to pursue the interpretation of the Enterprise Agreement it was evident that the Office for the Public Sector would seek an end to the proceedings on jurisdictional grounds. The PSA would then need to make application in the Industrial Relations Court. It is unlikely this would result in any benefit for members as the current Enterprise Agreement has a nominal expiry date of 4 December 2016. The PSA will also be proposing a different clause for the next enterprise agreement.

In order to conclude the matter the PSA sought the following statement to be issued by the Industrial Relations Commission which the employer agreed to as follows:

  1. DCS acknowledges the PSA’s frustration in regards to the interpretation of clause 7.2 of Appendix 7 of the South Australian Public Sector Wages Parity Enterprise Agreement: Salaried 2014 
  2. The employer agrees to review the existing establishment numbers as at 1 January 2013 to confirm the accuracy of data utilised for the purpose of Appendix 7 clause 7.2 
  3. Where an established Advanced Correctional Officer CO3 pool exists at a prison site, it will continue in operation until the next Salaried Enterprise Agreement is ratified
  4. Where future CO3 vacancies arise during the period outlined in point 3 above, the current CO3 pools will be used in order of merit to fill those vacancies.

A key outcome is that the current CO3 Pool will remain in operation until the next enterprise agreement comes into force and CO3s in the Pool will be promoted via their respective ranking as CO3 positions become available.

The PSA as part of its enterprise bargaining claim intends to propose a different method for the assignment of CO3s in the next enterprise agreement. A separate sub clause may also be developed to accommodate any CO3 remaining in the Pools when the next enterprise agreement comes into force.