As previously advised, the dispute over the review of the regulations was the subject of a hearing today in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.
In previous notices regarding the dispute the Union pointed to the belligerent stance taken by the Department and the unwillingness on their part to entertain reasonable objections raised by the Union. Today in the IRC the Department’s submission continued along this line with the Department advising the IRC that “the door is shut” – and that their position was not negotiable.
The Department went on to inform the IRC and the Union that the Regulations were parcelled up and at the Minister’s office; that the matter was finalised; that they had the power to push them through despite any objections raised -and that they would be doing just that. They also insisted that the bans in place should be lifted immediately. In short, they were saying that they could hear the dogs barking but the caravan had now moved on.
We detailed some specific objections we had with the unfettered power claimed by the Commissioner in Regulation 35 and particularly the late starter in the new Clause 8. Justice Boland of the IRC expressed concern at the Department’s unwillingness to negotiate and commented that the new clause 8 would be of concern to any organisation representing employees.
Justice Boland counselled that the Department should effectively open the door, retrieve the Regs from the Ministers office, negotiate in good faith, entertain the Union’s reasonable objections, respond with explanations for why the Department would not alter their position -and perhaps listen to the barking dogs. In return, the Union should lift the bans.
The matter has been listed for a report back to the IRC next Wednesday. In the meantime with the door now open again the Department and the Union will re-commence negotiations on the Regulations.
To enable the discussions the Union has now lifted all bans and limitations effective immediately.
Members will be kept informed of the progress of those discussions.