Bulletin 9 - No reduction in wages for selected bans - issued 7 April 2022

Protected industrial action is a valid part of the bargaining process. I respect the right of employees to take protected industrial action. I also welcome the parties working towards getting agreement for a new enterprise agreement through using good faith bargaining.

No reduction in wages for selected bans

After further information came to hand from the commissioner NT correctional services, I have reviewed our previous notice and wish to advise that correctional officers will not be deducted wages for those ban actions outlined in the notice of protected industrial action PDF (955.6 KB) dated 4 April 2022.

The agency has advised that where officers participating in the protected industrial action refuse to work in areas where there are no CCTV cameras or cameras are not operational, the officers will be re-tasked with alternate duties within the correctional establishments to ensure the ongoing operations of the facilities.

Safety is important

Safety for both workers at correctional facilities and inmates is important. Where there is a safety issue it should be raised with supervisors as soon as possible so it can be assessed and any risk mitigated. 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.

Important Information for employees and 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.
  • 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 on the OCPE website. Further information on bargaining and the Act can be obtained on the Fair Work Commission website or you can call their information line on 1300 799 675.

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
7 April 2022

Last updated: 27 April 2022

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