Bulletin 10 - Second notice of protected industrial action - issued 14 April 2022

*This bulletin only applies to employees covered by the Correctional Officer (NTPS) 2017-2021 Enterprise Agreement*

Second notice of protected industrial action

As reported in Bulletin 8 a protected action ballot was recently conducted and approved by members of United Workers Union (UWU). UWU have provided me with a second notice of protected industrial action PDF (142.7 KB) which will commence on Friday 15 April and Tuesday 19 April 2022.

Consistent with my advice in Bulletin 9, no reduction in wages will be made for the actions taken under the second notice where officers are re-tasked.

From 15 April 2022, officers may refuse to perform work unless wearing union shirt or other union branded clothing, such as hats. While respecting members right to take protected action, we have been advised by delegates that this action will involve the wearing of hats only, if it is proposed to be any different, please advise the General Manager.

From 19 April 2022 officers that refuse to perform single escorts, refuse to perform escorts of prisoners to and from the Police Watchhouse or refuse to staff the Police Watchhouse will be re-tasked with alternate duties within the correctional establishments to ensure the ongoing operations of the facilities.

Employees should note it is unlawful for Correctional Officers who are not members of UWU to participate in protected industrial action.

Safety is important

Thank you to officers for continuing to communicate about actions that ensure the safety for both workers at correctional facilities and inmates. Where there is a safety risk it should be raised with supervisors as soon as possible so it can be assessed. Where possible, the agency will work with officers to implement suitable, safe measures to maintain effective operations during the protected industrial action.

Employees not participating in the protected industrial action

Employees are still required to notify of non participation so the agency can plan for alternate arrangements necessary during this period. This can be done by advising the supervisor or line manager.

Employees not participating in the protected industrial action may be required to perform duties in areas being impacted by the action, and may also be requested to perform overtime.

Just as eligible employees who are members of the union have a right to take protected action, employees have a right to not participate. In both situations there may be penalties if action is taken against an employee who chooses to participate or if action is taken against an employee who chooses to not participate. If you have any concerns these must be immediately reported to your General Manager.

Chief correctional officers

Employees performing duties of Chief Correctional Officers (CCOs) and above, either as their nominal position or on temporary promotion, are covered by the Northern Territory Public Sector 2021-2025 Enterprise Agreement and are not eligible to participate in the protected industrial action.

As required, CCOs and above maybe re-tasked to perform alternate duties during this period. I wish to thank you for your cooperation in ensuring the safety of the staff, prisoners and the public.

Important information for employees and UWU members considering taking protected industrial action

I remind employees who are considering taking protected industrial action to be aware of the following:

  • Partaking in protected industrial action is voluntary. Members eligible to take action are not required to participate.
  • Only employees who are members of UWU (who were eligible to vote) are eligible to participate in protected industrial action.
  • Only actions that UWU notify me of may be taken as protected industrial action. Taking other action that is not notified will be unprotected.
  • Deductions from salary will be required from union members who engage in work stoppages, for the total duration of stoppage; and in relation to partial work bans where there is a significant impact on operations, a reduction in payment may be calculated in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act).
  • Non-members who participate in any industrial action will be considered to be taking unprotected industrial action and, in accordance with the Act, I am required to deduct a minimum of 4 hours salary for any unprotected industrial action.

Should I be notified that protected industrial action is to be taken, depending on the type of action notified of, further bulletins may be issued notifying employees of deductions from salary and actions that I may be required to take as the employer.

More information about the bargaining process

Regular updates in relation to the bargaining process are posted to the OCPE website. Further information on bargaining and the Act can be obtained at www.fwc.gov.au or you can contact the Fair Work Commission information line on 1300 799 675.

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
14 April 2022


Last updated: 27 April 2022

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