Government Considering Forced Redundancies

05 November 2019

“Forced redundancies are “...something the Government will need to consider” according to Treasurer Rob Lucas in an InDaily report yesterday.

In an apparent attempt to intimidate public sector workers Mr Lucas reportedly emphasised to InDaily that “the Public Sector Act makes it quite clear that if you’re surplus to requirement, there is no job for you”.

If the InDaily report is accurate Mr Lucas has misrepresented the terms of the Public Sector Act.

The Public Sector Act does not require excess employees to be sacked. Your enterprise agreement – which ensures compliance with the Act - contains your job security provisions.

This emphasises the importance of being a PSA member and how critical it is to retain the current Redeployment, Retraining and Redundancy (RRR) provisions members achieved in your current salaried enterprise agreement.

Mr Lucas has also failed to explain why there is a “need” to consider forced redundancies.

Make no mistake. The PSA is strongly opposed to forced redundancies.

Job security has long been the number one concern for PSA members.

Our salaried enterprise agreement details the requirements for treating PSA members who are declared, or who are potentially, excess with respect. It lays out the requirements for accountable, responsible management. The enterprise agreement remains in place; it is due for renegotiation soon; and the terms of a successor agreement will be determined by PSA members.

PSA General Secretary Nev Kitchin was quoted in the same InDaily report as saying there were other mechanisms available to government that “make forced redundancies completely unjustified”, “including the demographics of the workforce and natural attrition” and “the structure of the workforce - including reducing the current high levels of labour hire”.

Nev Kitchin said further that “The ‘no forced redundancy’ policy ended in 2014 when both the Liberal and Labor parties stated they would no longer honour their long-standing commitments. Since that time the PSA has been able to successfully negotiate a scheme which sees ongoing employees in the public sector retrained and redeployed to other work as the needs of the service change.”

There has not been a single forced redundancy since the RRR scheme has been introduced. This clearly demonstrates that the PSA-negotiated RRR process is working well - both for employees and the government.

Those employees who have been declared excess and who have sought to remain in the public sector have been able to do so by being retrained and redeployed for the benefit of the community they serve as well as the government.

The Premier told Parliament in July 2018 that “the most important asset in an organisation….are the people who work in that organisation. We value the people who are working in the Public Service in South Australia”. Treasurer Rob Lucas should honour the Premier’s statements about respecting and valuing the public service. He needs to state publicly that his government will retain in any future enterprise agreement the proven and mutually beneficial RRR process currently in place.

Please share this update with your colleagues and remind them of the importance being a PSA member.