The Progressive PSA brings together rank and file trade union activists in
Service Association of NSW and the CPSU (SPSF Branch). We work for:
A PSA email to members on 7 Dec. ’09 asserts that "the PSA has put ADHC's restructure proposal for accommodation and respite to a ballot of members". But the actual question on the ballot paper does not ask whether members endorse the proposal or not. The question on the ballot paper asks whether members:
authorize the PSA to enter into negotiations on the implementation of the CLA restructure...
The ballot material states that: “a final agreement by the PSA to the implementation of the CLA proposal is… subject to an agreement being reached on the Matrix of Duties.”
Only when the proposal is finalised and negotiations are completed would it be meaningful and necessary to have a ballot of members and only then should any vote occur.
Why is this ballot taking place now, before the proposal is finalised? Is it because the Executive delegates on the DC are afraid that members might reject a final offer and send the delegates back to the negotiating table?
A yes vote in this ballot is virtually assured since very few members would oppose simply entering into negotiations with the employer. After all, it is the job of the union officials to negotiate on our behalf. It is like asking ‘Do you authorise the union to do its job?’ How many members would say no to that? It is not a meaningful question.
The pressure on the DC delegates to reach an agreement is obviously mounting because negotiations over the restructure have been occurring for at least the past three and a half years, since mid 2006, (not since early 2008 as PSA General Secretary, John Cahill, claims in his 3 Dec. letter to members) and many members are understandably frustrated and concerned at the ongoing uncertainty caused by such a long delay.
The Progressive PSA recommends that members ignore this ballot. Instead members are encouraged to demand from our union the ballot we were promised and the ballot we deserve – a vote on a final proposal – before it is signed off by the PSA leadership.
Our union officials need to tell us how many jobs will be lost, the full list of changes that will occur to our award, the savings the employer will generate from the new structure, whether these savings will fund the unfunded 1.5% portion of our 4% pay rise, and all other relevant details, before we can say yes or no to any deal.
Members should also have regular progress reports on negotiations via email. That way they can have input into negotiations and guide them rather than have discussions occurring at a top level in closed door meetings, with delegates and officials making all the important decisions on our behalf without the benefit of member input.
Problems with the current proposal
The proposal requires that each Team Leader 1 work “an average” of 6 penalty shifts out of 19 each roster - 3 afternoon shifts, 2 evening shifts and one weekend shift per month - without being paid penalty rates. Instead, Team Leaders will be paid a salary.
Team Leader 2s would work “an average” 4 penalty shifts per roster – 2 afternoons and 2 Saturdays – without being paid penalty rates.
According to ADHC, “this does not mean that each Team Leader is expected to work this precise configuration of weekend and penalty shifts in any 28 day period”. In some cases it may be more, in other cases less.
The Progressive PSA believes that shift penalty rates were hard fought for and should not be given up so easily. Once penalty rates are removed for one group of employees, it sets a precedent and makes it easier for the employer to take these entitlements off all of us.
No costings have been made available to members and staff by either ADHC or the PSA office so it remains unknown how much in savings the employer expects to generate from the restructure nor whether any savings will count towards funding the unfunded 1.5% portion of our 4% pay rise.
It is also unclear how many jobs will be shed and what sort of voluntary redundancy packages will be offered to displaced staff.
Since negotiations are continuing over the Matrix of Duties regarding the Team Leader role, the proposal remains subject to change.
For more background information and opinion about the pay deal and its impact on members conditions return to the homepage
Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org