Newcastle Sub-Branch (NSB) officials, Comrades Jim Martin and Mark Williams, last night sought the introduction of relieving bans throughout Zone N3 in response to the Department’s inequitable allocation of out-duties into Regional areas (and into Newcastle in particular). Of primary concern was that whilst out-duties were being offered to Sydney-based, Newcastle-resident members, those offers were not being made in any way resembling the order of the Clause 28 transfer list. That is to say, we held that if permanent transfers are offered to those travelling the longest period, then it is only fair and reasonable that out-duties should offered in much the same order. The relieving ban was duly implemented last evening, and has continued through into today’s day shift.
The dispute itself arose due in no small part to the Department’s steady build up towards S/O and 4 staffing within the GSA, the result of which has been to not only cut out overtime, but to also deliver staffing on some shifts in excess of the minimum required. The Union has no objection to these extra jobs, nor do we see the opportunity for members who reside in Newcastle to occasionally work in their home town rather than travelling to and from Sydney as anything other than a good thing. The Union, has, however, insisted that such opportunities should be allocated fairly and further, that the Department should not be able to use these arrangements as a backdoor means by which our current Relievers (and therefore permanent positions) within Newcastle could be reduced and/or eliminated by members performing what are in effect unlimited out-duties.
Negotiations between the parties today have led to an interim agreement being reached on these matters, the details of which are contained within the attached correspondence. Accordingly, all NSB members are hereby advised that the relieving bans introduced last evening, Tuesday 24 February are to be lifted immediately upon receipt of this notice.
Members will also note that the attached agreement has been made subject to the State Committee’s approval later this week. It follows that NSB members who may disagree with this agreement, in whole or in part, are encouraged to convey your concerns to JVP Mark Williams or NSB Secretary Jim Martin prior to this Friday’s SCOM meeting.