SAPOL Refuses PSA Access to Police Security Services Branch (PSSB) Control Centre to Investigate Start Time Issue

29 May 2020

The Public Service Association (PSA) has received a number of complaints from union members at the Police Security Services Control Centre about a requirement for Police Security Officers (PSOs) to report for duty ten minutes before their scheduled start time.

Members report this has come about due to a change to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which requires relieving PSOs to be ready to log in to their workstation ten minutes prior to their shift commencing. This issue has also been raised at the Workplace Consultative Committee (WCC) last week, where it was determined that the PSA would seek feedback from members and report back to management.

On Wednesday 27 May 2020, PSA wrote to SAPOL PSSB management to notify of an intention to enter the workplace and observe the shift change over, then meet with PSA members afterwards to discuss the issue.

Shortly after making this request, a response was received from management refusing to give the PSA access to the Control Centre, citing “security reasons” and COVID19.

The PSA made contact with SAPOL’s Industrial Relations team and attended a meeting with them on the afternoon of Thursday 28 May 2020, where a further explanation of “National Security” was provided as the reason the PSA is not permitted to enter the Control Centre.

The PSA advised SAPOL Industrial Relations that under the Fair Work Act, a union official may enter any workplace and observe work practices that are believed to be in contravention of the Enterprise Agreement, Award or Act, provided they give the appropriate notice twenty four hours prior to entering the site. SAPOL Industrial Relations have asserted they consider that the Control Centre is an exception to the Fair Work Act. Concerns around COVID19 were also raised.

While the PSA understands and acknowledges the seriousness of COVID19, your Organiser has attended several meetings at PSSB over the last three weeks, including with SAPOL management. These meetings have been fine to go ahead as attendees are socially distancing and ensuring they are healthy before attending. A PSA member meeting or site visit is no different and should be managed in the same way.

Why is SAPOL not letting the PSA into your Worksite?
We are not sure. The PSA visits a large number of Departments and Agencies that handle sensitive information or require a high level security. This includes prisons, hospitals and child protection residential facilities. The PSA has the right to legally enter any workplace to represent and support our members.

The PSA is still seeking to attend the Control Centre and observe the shift change.

The PSA intends to escalate this issue and seek a resolution whereby your union can attend the workplace and observe the shift change over.

We will keep you up to date as this matter progresses.