SITREP No. 18/2011

May 6, 2011

Inside this issue:

  • 2011 Easter public holidays and consolidated leave
  • Department’s new IR strategy – keep digging
  • New meals and refreshment guides
  • AMP in a coma?
  • 2011 Union Aid Abroad Apheda Raffle closing soon

2011 Easter public holidays and consolidated leave

As SITREP 16/2011 noted the Department’s view is that the new Easter Sunday public holiday is not an “additional public holiday” and that sub-clause 6.4 – and the crediting of consolidated leave –does not apply. The Department’s view has not changed and it confirmed that it would not provide any compensation for the additional public holiday.

Consequently, the Union notified the Industrial Relations Commission of yet another dispute and the matter was listed for conciliation this morning. Justice Haylen advised that the parties should hold further discussions with the view to coming to a practical resolution. If progress is not made in the next week the Union will have the matter relisted before the IRC. More to follow.

Department’s new IR strategy – keep digging

In SITREP 45/2010 (“Another day, another defeat for the Department”) we reported that the Department’s shameful attempt to deny a permanent member over $37,000 in Clause 29 relocation expenses had failed after the Industrial Relations Commission ruled in favour of the Union.

Not content with one comprehensive loss and still not convinced that these entitlements could or should exist, the Department then appealed that decision to a Full Bench of the IRC.

Unusually, at that hearing on 27 April the Full Bench of the Commission directed that it would hear argument on the Department’s application for leave to appeal separately, and before it’s application for appeal. Having heard the Department’s arguments, within half an hour the Bench had ‘very strongly formed the view that leave to appeal should be refused.’

Hopefully this unambiguously brutal rejection of the Department’s industrial strategy in denying members’ legitimate entitlements on the basis of personal affront will cause management to rethink its approach, although the increasing number of disputes before the IRC would suggest that management has not yet learnt its lesson.

We thought it ridiculous that this matter ended up in an arbitrated decision, let alone an attempted appeal. And the Full Bench agreed.

New meals and refreshments guides

New guides on meals and refreshments for permanent and retained members have been added to the Union website today. The purpose of the guides is to assist members in terms of the rights and obligations of Clause 10 of the Permanent Award and Clause 8 of the Retained Award.  They can be found under the “Union Guides” section of our website.

AMP in a coma?

In SITREP 11/2011 the Union reported a number of concerns arising out of the Department’s use of the Attendance Management Policy (AMP), including breaches of privacy and failure to provide proper notice of interviews. The Union met with the Department shortly after to discuss these matters and at the conclusion of that meeting the Department agreed to provide interim commitments addressing the Union’s concerns together with a revised AMP, or principles on which an amended AMP might be based, for our consideration. To date neither has occurred.

The Union has also been advised that some Duty Commanders have since been instructed to conduct informal SLANT interviews over the phone, or to keep lists of possible SLANT interviewees so interviews may be conducted once this dispute is resolved and the bans lifted. Directions of this nature are not only in contravention of the Union’s instruction (and therefore to be ignored), they are also unlawful given that conducting SLANT interviews over the phone is contrary to the AMP.

The Union’s instruction to permanent members that was first issued on 18 March 2011 that no member is to arrange, conduct or attend any AMP interview until further notice from the State Secretary remains in force.

By way of clarification, and consistent with the Union’s usual approach to industrial bans of an administrative nature, there is to be no catch-up work performed by members at the conclusion of this dispute. In this instance, this will mean that none of the period over which the ban was in place is to be reviewed and/or counted in consideration of any member’s sick leave record.

2011 Union Aid Abroad Apheda Raffle closing soon

Apheda is the overseas aid arm of the Australian Council of Trade Unions and is committed to justice, solidarity and self-reliance, not charity. It does this by supporting educational and training projects for workers and their organisations in Southeast Asia, the Pacific, the Middle East, Southern Africa and the Caribbean.

Each year Aheda holds a raffle to raise funds for this work and purchasing tickets is a great way to support this organisation.  Tickets, which can be purchased through the Union office, are $2 each and put you in the running to win an $8000 travel voucher. The raffle closes on 20 May, so please call 9218 3444 and ask for Georgia or email for more information or to purchase tickets.

Jim Casey

State Secretary