Members attending the Union’s AGM last December determined that the Special Duties issue would be presented to (and therefore be resolved by) a separate General Meeting of members to be held “within three months of the making of the permanent members’ Award”. The 2000 Award was formally made on May 1 (even though it as backdated to February 24), which means that the General Meeting on Special Duties positions should now be held on or before August 1 – and it still will be, provided the Department meets its end of the deal.
The new 2000 Award contains a Clause 14 titled “Special Duties (Operational Support) Positions”. Importantly, this Clause begins at sub-clause 14.1 which states that “None of the provisions of this Clause shall come into effect until it has been agreed to do so between the Department and the Union.” In other words, Clause 14 is a ghost Clause which will only take effect if we agree to it at the forthcoming Special General Meeting.
Although Clause 14 currently has no effect, it does provide members with at least some idea of what the Special Duties concept is prior to the SGM itself. However, it is near impossible to read Clause 14 and to understand it without also having a copy of the schedule of the actual Special Duties positions so that members can see exactly which positions are involved as well as how each individual position has been evaluated (from Grades 1 to 5). In fairness to all members, the SGM cannot really be held before this schedule has been circulated to all workplaces.
So where is their schedule? I personally contacted the Departmental officer responsible for Special Duties back in mid-May seeking a copy of the Department’s version of the schedule so we could check it against our own records for any inconsistencies prior to the Union circulating an agreed Special Duties schedule to members for your information and feedback. Despite being promised a copy before the end of May, the Department’s schedule remains MIA.
As with all issues, the State Committee will make a recommendation to members on the Special Duties question prior to the SGM, but we also believe that all of the relevant information – including the schedule of positions and their grading – has to be made available to our members well in advance. If the Department provides their schedule to the Union sometime this week then we should still be able to distribute an agreed schedule to members before June 30, and to hold our SGM before August 1. That being said, the fault for any delay beyond this timetable will now lie with the Department, not your Union.
Wednesday 14th June 2000