General NTPS

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The Northern Territory Public Sector 2017-2021 Enterprise Agreement is due to expire on 10 August 2021, and I have agreed with the below unions to commence bargaining for a new agreement:

  • Australian Education Union
  • Australian Manufacturing Workers Union
  • Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation
  • Community and Public Sector Union
  • Electrical Trades Union
  • Professionals Australia
  • Transport Workers’ Union
  • United Workers Union

Initial bargaining meeting

The initial bargaining meeting is scheduled as follows:

Date: Thursday, 18th March 2021
Time: 9.00am to 4.00pm
Location: Carpentaria Room, Darwin Innovation Hub
Level 1, Paspalis Centrepoint
48-50 Smith Street Mall, Darwin

Bargaining representatives

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) imposes rights and obligations on employers, unions and employees with respect to the bargaining process. Attached for your information is the statutory Notice of Employee Representational Rights, advising employees of the right to be represented in relation to the bargaining process.

Instruments of appointment for bargaining representatives can be forwarded before the initial meeting (or at any time during the bargaining process) to enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au or:

Attention: Employee Relations
Office of the Commissioner for Public Employment
GPO Box 4371
Darwin NT 0801

Bargaining representatives are requested to contact my Office on 8999 4282 to confirm meeting dates.

More information

Regular updates in relation to the bargaining process will be posted to the OCPE Webpage .

Information on bargaining in general 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

I, together with representatives from my Office and NTPS Agencies, met with employee representative nominated bargaining agents and delegates on 18 March 2021.

We had a productive meeting with all parties listening and taking time to understand each other’s proposals. I advised that I am seeking an enterprise agreement that falls within the Northern Territory Public Sector Bargaining Policy 2021- 2024 with improved conditions of employment and efficiency measures, where indicated.

Some unions outlined their log of claims. Other unions indicated they should be in a position to provide a log of claims in the next week. The parties discussed how the bargaining process will generally proceed and other associated matters. The parties will continue to work constructively together over the coming months to finalise a proposed new agreement.

It is my intention to bargain / negotiate issues so I can issue a formal offer to employees no later than 9 August 2021.

It is important you are kept informed on the progress of negotiations as these proposals relate to your employment.

Details of the proposals

Below is an outline of the employer’s proposed conditions:

  • $1000 lump sum payment per annum
  • A four year agreement
  • Where time off in lieu or flextime is not available, paid NAIDOC leave up to 3 hours to attend NAIDOC March and approved activities
  • Move foster or kinship carers leave into the agreement
  • Move the majority of leave related By-laws into the agreement
  • A new entitlement for gender transition leave
  • Improve compassionate leave provisions to include the death of an employee’s non-immediate family member or a person related to the employee (e.g. aunt/uncle/niece/nephew/first cousin)
  • Re-brand ‘purchased leave’ as ‘flexible-lifestyle leave’ to support work life balance.  Improve existing entitlement to allow purchasing up to eight weeks leave
  • Improve existing provision to support family responsibilities - an employee to have the right to return from parental leave on a part-time basis for 6 months
  • Improve existing provision to allow an employee to access up to two hours per annum for mental health screening/cancer screening
  • New provision for pre-natal leave to allow for a spouse and a pregnant employee to access up to 8 hours leave for pregnancy related medical appointments
  • Where time off in lieu or flextime is not available, a new provision to enable employees within 3 years of retirement age (currently 65) to access up to two hours paid leave per annum to seek independent financial advice on superannuation options
  • Address rest relief after overtime provisions to provide for better management to ensure adequate rest breaks when overtime duty is performed over a weekend
  • Promote a clear definition of ‘Emergency Leave’ and reduce the number of days currently available to reflect the current take-up and to offset improvements in other leave entitlements
  • The agreement to have in place principles for a casual employee to have the right to request conversion to ongoing/fixed period employment after 12 months
  • Improve overtime penalty rates where overtime spans midnight and a higher rate applies at the start of the shift
  • Move into the agreement and continue a range of long-standing entitlements currently provided through Determinations

Have your say – your feedback is important

Should you wish to express a view on the proposals or make a suggestion, you can provide your feedback to me by emailing enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment

I am pleased to report that negotiations are progressing with parties meeting on a weekly basis.

Over 120 claims have been received from unions to date. Negotiation involves the parties working through each claim, including the employer’s proposals, to understand the issues and identify any cost implications or savings for NT Government. The parties are working towards an enterprise agreement that, as a total package, contains employment terms and conditions acceptable to the employer and employees’ representatives. The result is a proposed enterprise agreement that all employees will have an opportunity to vote on.

It is usual during negotiations for parties to indicate their ‘in principle’ agreement to particular claims. ‘In principle’ agreement means the general terms of a claim, or an employer’s proposal, are supported without the complete details having been specified or necessarily agreed upon. ‘In principle’ agreement is subject to the totality (or all) of the enterprise agreement matters under negotiation being acceptable to the relevant party (e.g. employer).

At the meetings on 9 and 16 April 2021, my representatives advised unions, on a without prejudice basis that I agree ‘in principle’ to the following claims:

  • two days additional compassionate leave for immediate family or household member (noting also that I have proposed introducing three days paid leave on the death of a non-immediate family member or person related to the employee, e.g. aunt/uncle/niece/nephew/first cousin);
  • to retain the existing change management (consultation) provisions;
  • to retain the existing provisions regarding commitments to monitor workloads; and
  • a guarantee to return to work after parental leave on a part-time basis for a defined period.

The parties will continue to work constructively together over the coming months to finalise a proposed new agreement.

Have your say – your feedback is important

Should you wish to express a view on the proposals or make a suggestion, you can provide your feedback to me by emailing enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
April 2021

Negotiations are on schedule and we remain focused on job certainty and more benefits for employees such as leave entitlements and support for flexible work.

I acknowledge that unions and employees may have been expecting proposals for salary increases from the employer, as per previous agreements. However, to support the NT Government’s budget reform agenda and to support job certainty for employees, I am proposing:

  • $4000 over four years (plus employer superannuation guarantee)
  • more benefits to employees to support work life balance and employees with caring responsibilities (e.g. a range of new leave options, including paid leave)

On a without prejudice basis and subject to drafting clauses, parties have given ‘in-principle’ agreement on a range of matters since my last bulletin issued on 16 April 2021. These include:

  • 3 days paid compassionate leave on the death of an employee’s extended family member (e.g. aunt/uncle, niece/nephew)
  • paid leave to attend pre-natal appointments
  • gender transition leave (paid and unpaid)
  • paid leave for pre-adoption interviews or foster/kinship carer’s Permanent Care Order interviews (currently unpaid)
  • more paid leave for cancer screening and extend entitlement to include mental health screening
  • introducing a minimum engagement payment for casual employees
  • Community Language Allowance to be included in the agreement

Other areas where parties have found common ground and are continuing discussions include:

  • paid leave to attend NAIDOC week activities
  • shiftwork conditions – aiming for simpler and more consistent entitlements
  • casual and fixed period employment
  • rest relief after overtime and fatigue management
  • conditions for veterans (e.g. war service leave)
  • infectious diseases leave
  • simpler overtime provisions
  • including By-law and Determination entitlements in the enterprise agreement

Over the next few weeks the parties will continue to meet and negotiate on the above provisions and other proposals.

I hope to provide you with a final proposal for consideration by early August 2021. My representatives and I are working to provide enhanced conditions and pay the first $1000 lump sum as soon as possible.

NTPS salaries and CPI

I have received feedback that the $1000 annual lump sum payment doesn’t align with the Darwin CPI. The graph below shows the percentage increases to NTPS base salaries compared to the percentage increase to the Darwin CPI.

Since 2010 NTPS salaries have increased by 16.2 percentage points more than the cumulative increases in the CPI over the same period.  The graph shows that NTPS salaries will be maintained for the next four years as well as employees receiving the proposed $4000 (plus superannuation) payment during this time.

Chart CPI

Have your say – your feedback is important

Should you wish to express a view on the proposals or make a suggestion, you can provide your feedback to me by emailing enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
19 May 2021

Parties continue to meet weekly to discuss claims and proposals and to draft the new enterprise agreement to make it easier for employees to understand.

I am pleased to report further improvements to existing conditions have been agreed ‘in principle’, on a without prejudice basis and subject to drafting clauses, between the parties including:

  • compassionate leave (3 days) where employee or their partner experiences miscarriage
  • a minimum engagement period for casual employees
  • for veterans - access to war service leave for a subsequent disability.

Based on progress to date, I am hopeful that all claims and proposals will have been discussed by early July.  At that time, I will consider my position in relation to the new enterprise agreement as a ‘total package’ and finalise a proposal for consideration by early August 2021.

The above improvements build on my other proposals for the proposed new NTPS General Enterprise Agreement, including:

  • $4000 over four years (superannuation applies)
  • more benefits for flexible work
  • 3 days paid compassionate leave on the death of an extended family member
  • paid leave to attend NAIDOC week activities

bulletin 5

Let’s stick together, keep job certainty and keep working for Territorians.

Have your say – your feedback is important

Should you wish to express a view on the proposals or make a suggestion, you can provide your feedback to me by emailing enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au

More information

Regular bargaining updates will be posted to the OCPE webpage at Enterprise agreement negotiations – General NTPS.

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
22 June 2021

Bargaining for a new enterprise agreement can be a time consuming process as parties need to ensure that all claims and proposals are discussed, genuinely considered and negotiated. Since my last bulletin (22 June 2021) I am pleased to advise that parties have been constructively working through outstanding matters and responding to each other’s proposed draft clauses.

There have been robust discussions but also very useful feedback which was gone towards improving draft clauses and provisions.

During the next week the parties will consider any remaining matters not yet discussed in bargaining.

I remain hopeful that I will be able to consider my position in relation to the new enterprise agreement as a ‘total package’ and finalise a proposal for consideration in August 2021.

Have your say – your feedback is important

Should you wish to express a view on the proposals or make a suggestion, you can provide your feedback to me by emailing enquiries.ocpe@nt.gov.au

Let’s stick together, keep job certainty and keep working for Territorians.

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
30 July 2021

Important information about employee representational rights in enterprise bargaining negotiations

Read the notice of employee representational rights PDF (25.2 KB).


Last updated: 30 July 2021

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