Professionals Australia CASA Update
Last week Professionals Australia requested that CASA commence the negotiating process for a new enterprise agreement. We know that our members and those of other unions are very eager to avoid delays in the finalisation of a new agreement.
To date, CASA has indicated that it aims to finalise an agreement by the end of this year. However as of the 28th May 2019, they’d cited two reasons why CASA was not in a position to commence now, those being:
- CASA intend to open a staff survey, the results of which would inform their side of negotiations.
- CASA were also seeking advice from the Australian Public Service Commission on whether there would be any changes to the government’s bargaining policy following the federal election outcome.
Last week, we respectfully submitted that neither of these points would prevent CASA from commencing enterprise bargaining. Their staff survey can take place concurrently with enterprise bargaining commencing. The three technical unions are close to completing our joint list of claims to discuss at the bargaining table, which we could conceivably discuss at the same time as CASA finalise their own staff survey.
Regarding the Australian Public Service Commission and the binding bargaining policy, the Government made public comments prior to the election that their approach to bargaining would be ‘business as usual’. Professionals Australia are involved in other EBA negotiations across the public service and no other enterprise bargain which we are involved in are on hold pending changes to the government bargaining policy which may or may not occur.
On this point, we submitted that the Government can of course vary their bargaining policy when they like. This could happen at any point or may not happen at all, and so should not be a factor which prevents us commencing negotiations.
In light of these two points we requested that negotiations for a successor to the CASA enterprise agreement commence as soon as possible. We are yet to receive a response.
RSST Transformation Program
At the last Workplace Relations Group meeting on May 28, Professionals Australia received an update on the RSST transformation program which amounted to; Michelle Massey (the Change Manager) providing the Senior Executive with a proposal for a future state model for CASA which Executive were considering, and that model would soon be released for a consultation period with staff and unions prior to any implementation.
At the WRG meeting the three unions expressed significant concerns regarding changes to work processes already being implemented across CASA and provided numerous examples. At that point, CASA mentioned that the Change Manager and Senior Executive are the only parties aware of what is in the RSST proposal and no implementation of the RSST proposal was underway. CASA hypothesised that any other workplace changes must be flowing from other change processes or local management direction.
Members across CASA are reporting that the changes currently underway could impact on CASA’s ability to function effectively as a regulator. Members are saying that access to currency training is being restricted and investigators are being directed to become more desk bound; moves which could have the impact of de-skilling and deprofessionalising the technical workforce. There is concern that the RSST transformation program will see these practices become standard.
Last week, Professionals Australia became aware that an-all CASA staff email was sent from Graeme Crawford regarding Peter White, which stated:
“Peter has returned to work today to progress the RSS Transformation program prior to briefing the CASA board in Cairns next week. The DAS and I recognise the strategic importance of the transformation program and I am pleased to advise that Peter has agreed to return later in 2019 in a consulting capacity to assist us with the RSST transformation as well as a wide range of other matters, suited to his extensive skills and expertise.”
This message suggests that implementation of the RSST program is indeed in progress before any consultation has taken place. Additionally it appears that the outgoing executive, Peter White, has been awarded a contract to implement the RSST program as a consultant before there’s been any consultation with staff on the content of the future state model.
We requested that CASA provide urgent clarification on what’s really going on with the various restructuring and change processes underway. CASA have indicated that a response will be forthcoming, but this has not yet been provided.
Drug and Alcohol Policy
Professionals Australia members have been attending workshops this week on proposed changes to CASA’s drug and alcohol policy, and have been surprised by the date at which CASA intend to close consultation. Professionals Australia have today requested that consultation remain open to enable us to compile member feedback and submit our response.
CASA have agreed to accept feedback from Professionals Australia for a few extra days, closing on Monday 24th June. To enable us to compile member concerns, please send through your views on the changes this week.