Probation Workers Serve Industrial Action Notice
PSA media release 22 June 2001
Probation Workers Serve Notice Of Direct Industrial Action
Community Probation Service workers represented by the PSA today served notice on the employer to take limited industrial action in support of a new Collective Employment Agreement.
“The PSA has been in and out of negotiations for more than 9 months, and have exhausted all efforts to reach a fair agreement” said Richard Wagstaff.
“The main sticking point for members is that, after years of neglect and no base rate increases, the employer was only prepared to offer what amounted to a $650.00 pay out”.
“While the PSA was able to successfully negotiate significant improvements to the proposed collective agreement, covering areas including work loads, union participation and a more accessible competency based pay system, the overall offer lacked tangible and immediate benefits in an environment of low trust,” said Richard Wagstaff
Caseloads have risen considerably and are far too high to deliver a professional service. Staff morale is low and turnover high as a result.
The numbers of offenders that the service deals with has significantly increased over the same period without proper financial recognition for this additional work and responsibility.
While there has been considerable investment in the department over the past 5 years, it has failed to reach the workers at the front line in terms of improved pay and conditions.
“The department has indicated that they will respond to the PSA’s action with suspensions. This will be a heavy-handed response to lawful industrial action. If that occurs, PSA members have resolved to walk off the job immediately and indefinitely to support their suspended colleagues,” said Richard Wagstaff.
Considerable disruption is likely if that occurs as probation workers have responsibility for; home detentions (ie people serving imprisonment on home detention, some of whom represent a considerable risk to the community), writing reports on individual offenders for courts and prison boards (to assist with decision making processes - sentences and whether people are released or not) working in courts, managing community based sentences (parole, periodic detention, supervision and community service), and running community based rehabilitation programmes.