GOVERNMENT ENTERPRISE BARGAINING AGENDA: IT’S ALL TOO HARD

06 February 2020

The government provided some further details and attempted to explain their agenda for a new salaried enterprise agreement at the Enterprise Bargaining General Meeting held yesterday.


Redeployment, Retraining and Redundancy (Appendix 1)

The government confirmed it wants to remove Appendix 1 from your Enterprise Agreement. The government and their HR representatives’ position is that Appendix 1 is “too onerous”, “too prescriptive”, and has “too many pages and timeframes”. It appears it is simply too hard to sack people. The PSA confirmed our position that Appendix 1 only requires good HR, case, and vacancy management.

Consultation

The government’s position is that it wants to minimise what matters require consultation, and to dictate to employees what it will and will not discuss when it comes to things that affect their working lives. They also want consultation to occur in parallel with implementation, rather than before. This would limit members’ opportunity to influence management decisions, a fundamental consultation principle.

Grievance and Dispute Resolution and Status Quo

The government wants the status quo to apply only for established Work Health and Safety issues. For all other disputes they want to be able to forge ahead with matters regardless of whether they comply with the Enterprise Agreement or not. They also appear to want to limit access to the employment tribunal.

Other Matters

The government also provided further details about their agenda to slash saved clauses, reduce paid maternity leave for some members, remove the Mental Health First Aid Training clause and remove the entitlement to ongoing employment for graduates and trainees. An outline of the government’s agenda on the removal and amendment of a number of saved clauses contained in Appendices 3 and 4 of your current agreement follows further below.

Government explanation for their agenda: It’s all too hard
When pressed by the PSA for details on all these agenda items the government was unable to provide any genuine or specific reasons for their proposed changes other than superficial generalities.

The government’s agenda is simply to minimise the influence members have on their daily working lives through consultation, make it easier to sack public servants, all while reducing your ability to dispute their mistakes.

The PSA confirmed members’ expectations about maintaining existing enterprise agreement conditions and our strong rejection of the government’s hostile anti-public sector worker agenda.

PSA Assistant General Secretary Natasha Brown restated to the meeting that ‘PSA members are telling us the most important things to them are:

Job protection

Protection from, and processes to deal with, unreasonable workloads

Maintaining their current conditions of employment

Maintaining our effective redeployment systems and processes

A fair and reasonable wage outcome

 

These key areas are the foundation of our approach and expectations for this round of enterprise bargaining. These are the things that will create an employment environment which will allow public sector workers to continue to provide quality public services to the people of South Australia.

The PSA is continuing to work with our members on the specific areas of improvement they are seeking in a new enterprise agreement, and will continue to do so throughout the negotiations.

The Assistant General Secretary reconfirmed the PSA’s strong rejection of the Government’s enterprise bargaining agenda, in particular the proposed removal of RRR and reductions to consultation and dispute resolution.’

Assistant General Secretary Natasha Brown concluded by stating that ‘the government’s agenda is a baseless ideological attack on public service workers which provides nothing to foster a good working environment for the benefit of the workers or the people of South Australia.

Consistent with the last round of negotiations, our object remains the achievement of clear, equitable, fair, consistent and enforceable provisions in a single enterprise agreement that deals with the issues members have identified as being important to them.’

 

If you don’t agree with what the government wants to do to your employment conditions, stand together in union with your colleagues, and encourage those who are not yet members to join the PSA.

 

Saved Clauses

Appendix

Government Position

Apx. 3.1 SafeWork SA Division (now employees in the Attorney-General’s Department)

Remove – not required

Apx. 3.2 State Aboriginal Affairs Division Agreement (now known as “Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation” in the Department of State Development)

Retain

Apx. 3.3 Attorney-General’s Department

Retain – 7.5 Payment of Fees by Employer

 

Remove – 8.2 - 8.11 Negotiation and Consultation on Measures

 

Retain – 9.1 Carer’s Leave

Apx. 3.4 Department for Families and Communities

Remove

Apx. 3.5 Department of Primary Industries and Resources

Remove – 10 Employment Conditions

 

Retain – TOIL

Apx. 3.6 Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure

Remove – not used

Apx. 3.7 Department of Treasury and Finance

Remove (1) Flexible Working Hours and Overtime – covered by policy

 

Retain – (2) Leave Loading

Apx. 3.8 South Australian Tourism Commission

Remove – covered by agreement

Apx. 3.9 Senior Secondary Assessment Board of South Australia

Amend – update to current name, review references

Apx. 3.10 State Emergency Service

Government in process of forming a proposal in conjunction with CFS, no documentation available

Apx. 3.11 South Australian Country Fire Service

Government in process of forming a proposal in conjunction with SES, no documentation available

Apx. 3.12 Carclew Incorporated

Remove – 19.1

 

Amend – 19.1.1 to include Saturdays as ordinary hours

Apx. 3.13 Country Arts Trust

Amend employment conditions to include Saturdays as ordinary hours

Apx. 3.14 Legal Services Commission

To be confirmed – no update available

Apx. 3.15 South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service

Retain

Apx. 4.1 - Quarantine Station Inspectors - Primary Industries and Resources SA

Retain

Apx. 4.2 - Special Conditions for Employees Employed as Traffic Management Centre, Operators, Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure (DTEI)

To be confirmed – no update available

Apx. 4.3 - SA Health - Special conditions for Employees Employed as Community Rehabilitation Workers for the Adelaide Metropolitan Mental Health Directorate

Retain

Apx. 4.4 – Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Amend – No detail provided on what the government is seeking.

 

Enterprise Bargaining Member Engagement

It is important PSA members continue to have their say about the next salaried enterprise agreement. PSA Organisers are continuing to hold meetings specifically about enterprise bargaining at worksites across the state. The PSA’s position will continue to be refined through the input of members at these worksite meetings and through your Worksite Representatives. Please make sure you get to these meetings to continue to provide your important contributions to your next agreement.

 

Strength in numbers – join the union
Enterprise bargaining is a great opportunity to
stand together in union with your colleagues, and to talk with your colleagues who are yet to join about why it is important to be a union member, and the great things we can achieve together. Our continued strong membership, engagement and member actions are the key elements to protecting and building on what we achieved in the last agreement.

You can help build a strong bargaining position by:

  • Asking your co-workers to join the PSA (they can join online here).

  • Encouraging your colleagues to attend PSA meetings at your workplace or agency.

  • Consider becoming a Worksite Representative and contacting your PSA Organiser.