08 May 2020
Enterprise Bargaining - government still wants to remove your rights
The Enterprise Bargaining process has continued in the background throughout the COVID-19 situation - but has been affected by the immediate priorities brought on by the pandemic.
The PSA has, as a matter of priority in these critical times, been active in supporting and advocating for members during the emergency situation brought about by the pandemic.
The PSA has, however, continued to reinforce with government our membership bargaining position, as well as continuing to clarify the government’s bargaining position. The PSA has also met with the other unions involved in the bargaining on a number of occasions in order to discuss their respective priorities, positions and approaches.
The government’s position remains the same. That is, the government wants to:
- Remove your job security provisions (Appendix 1 – which includes Redeployment, Retraining and Redundancy - RRR) from the enterprise agreement. Your employer wants to be able to declare workers excess and sack them within a matter of weeks. The current requirements are just “too hard”.
- Reduce your rights to be to be consulted about changes in the workplace
- Water down your grievance and dispute rights
The PSA has been crystal clear about our members’ position from the very first meeting with the government, and at every meeting since then. We have told the government in every meeting with them that the most important things for PSA members are:
- Job protection
- Protection from, and processes to deal with, unreasonable workloads
- Maintaining current conditions of employment
- Maintaining effective redeployment systems and processes
- A fair and reasonable pay increase
Before the COVID-19 crisis hit, the PSA was in the process of consulting with Worksite Representatives ahead of further consultation with members about themes for negotiation in addition to the five key elements listed above. The PSA Council and four Worksite Representative seminars had unanimously endorsed some broad themes for negotiation in addition to the baseline position contained in those elements.
These broad themes included:
- Strengthening the commitment to ongoing employment
- Greater protection for against inappropriate behaviours in the workplaces
- Hours of work: to provide clarity about hours and related matters and to provide for equitable and consistent shift work conditions
- Parental Leave: to ensure equity of access, no disadvantage from transferring to a safe job, and addressing the disadvantage arising from absences from the workplace on parental leave.
- Improving special leave provisions, so that, for example; leave for volunteers in emergency services is consistent with the federal provisions
- Ensuring that all relevant agencies and authorities and their employees are covered by the agreement
- Dealing with specific career group issues, including, for example, some AHP, TGO, and OPS stream matters, and dealing with some agency specific matters including SA Pathology, CFS and SES and Corrections matters.
Our intentions before the COVID-19 emergency hit was to be discussing these themes with members through our Worksite Representatives and PSA Organisers and to seek membership feedback and agreement with them. We have been interrupted in doing this by the priorities brought about by supporting and advocating for members during the COVID-19 situation.
Now that the immediate challenges and changes due to the COVID-19 crisis are more settled and understood, members are requested to provide feedback to these themes through their Worksite Representatives and PSA Organisers. Please contact your PSA Worksite Representative or PSA Organiser to make your views known.
The current agreement will remain in place until it is replaced by a successor agreement.
The next Single Bargaining Centre meeting has been proposed for 27 May 2020.
In the meantime, the PSA will continue to advocate for members and advise members of developments.
Our continued strong membership engagement is the key to protecting and building on what we have achieved through enterprise agreements. Make sure all your colleagues know how important it is to be a union member, and what we can achieve together.
With PSA membership you know you're protected at work and have access to a huge range of member benefits. We strive for a South Australian public sector in which staff are highly valued and well resourced, with fair and secure working conditions.