TASMANIAN INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION
Industrial Relations Act 1984
Minister for Public Sector Administration
(T6502 of 1996)
Industrial Relations Act 1984
Minister for Public Sector Administration
(T6498 of 1996)
Award variation - nominated private sector awards - re-word nominated awards consistent with other Public Sector awards - operative date 7 Mar 96 - implementation of annualisation of recreation leave loading
Award variation - Tourism Tasmania Staff Award - Clause 5 - supersession and savings - operative date ffpp 16 Jun 96
Rescission of nominated awards - operative date 7 Mar 96
REASONS FOR DECISION
All these matters, which were applications by the Minister for Public Sector Administration (the Minister), to vary quite a number of Public Sector awards were brought on for hearing on the one day: they were joined in groups for specific consideration even though in some cases, the different amendments sought were to apply to the same award.
In this decision the Commission refers many times to the "streams" awards meaning some or all of the following awards:
the Administrative and Clerical Employees Award;
For clarity of explanation and convenience the applications before the Commission may be categorised as follows:
The Minister submitted that, consistent with the streamlining and simplification of public sector awards, the standard supported wage provision (implemented in many awards of the Commission through matter T5985 of 1995) ought to be inserted in the General Conditions of Employment Award and eventually deleted from all other public sector awards in which it appears.
The Minister requested that this proposed variation be made to commence operation from 7 March 1996 which was the date on which the three first-named "streams" awards took effect.
These applications reflected a continuation of implementation of the process proposed or commenced by the decisions of the Commission in matters which introduced the "streams" awards. They sought to incorporate in the Administrative and Clerical Employees Award, the Technical Employees Award and the Operational Employees Award the translation of salaries provisions for positions covered by the following nominated awards:
A In the case of the Administrative and Clerical Employees Award:
B In the case of the Technical Employees Award:
C In the case of the Operational Employees Award:
The Minister confirmed that it was proposed eventually to rescind many of the awards translating into the four "streams" awards; the proposal to introduce the names of awards into the translation tables in the "streams" awards was aimed at preserving the translation process until all the employees concerned had reached the work value level assigned to their positions.
It should be noted that it was only the salaries provisions in the nominated awards which were to be transferred to the "streams" awards. The nominated awards were to remain in force providing for certain conditions of employment apart from those specified in the General Conditions of Employment Award.
Consistent with what the parties claimed to be modern practice certain words were replaced with others now regarded as more appropriate, for example, "shall" and "will" were replaced by "is to be" and "are to be".
In T6503 of 1996 there was also a specific amendment in the Annexure A Translation page in the form of a proviso for the "A" Grade Wireman's Licence Allowance to be paid as a separate amount and not be absorbed on translation, so that any employee so qualified would receive the allowance in addition.
The Minister requested that all these Group 2 amendments be made to commence operation from 7 March 1996.
These applications had a three-fold purpose
Relying on Section 32(7A) of the Act, the Minister submitted that these rescissions ought to be endorsed because the awards involved were superseded fully by the "streams" awards, as envisaged by all parties, and there was no use for them in the future. These applications again were consistent with the decisions of the Commission in matters T5741 of 1995 and T6143 of 1996.
In particular the Minister requested that these rescissions come into effect from 7 March 1996 and that the rescission orders be the first issued operative from that date to ensure that the translation of some positions to the "streams" awards was not jeopardised .
The Minister also submitted that the rescission of the awards was consistent with the continuing process of reviewing awards of the Commission.
These applications sought to implement the "annualisation" of the recreation leave allowance in the awards nominated. The "annualisation" (meaning the addition of the allowance to an employee's salary on a fortnightly pro-rata basis) was one of the offsets agreed between the parties and reflected in the Commission's decision in matter T5741 of 1995. The applications also sought to re-word the awards nominated in the same way as a number of other public sector awards had been re-worded recently.
The Commission was advised by the Minister that the amount proposed to be added to an annual salary for the purposes of annualisation of the recreation leave allowance had been calculated at 1.35 percent of that annual salary, or $524 for those salaries above the maximum prescribed in Clause 27 of the General Conditions of Employment Award. The annual salary referred to in this paragraph was calculated by taking the relevant award salary effective from the first full pay period to commence on or after 1 March 1996 and adding the 1.4 percent State Service Wages Arrangement extension.
The Minister requested in particular that these proposed variations be made to commence on and from 3 October 1996 which was the beginning of the first full pay period to commence on or after 1 October 1996, the latter date being the commencement date prescribed in Clause 27 of the General Conditions of Employment Award for the allowance to become payable.
Complementary to the other applications in Group 5, application T6575 of 1996 sought for the General Conditions of Employment Award to prescribe that the recreation leave allowance continue to be applied generally in the previous annual accrual and payment manner, but that such prescription not apply to the other awards covered by the applications in Group 5. There was also an exception sought for employees under the Police Departmental Employees and Road Safety Officers Award (proposed to be re-titled) because, for historical reasons, they accrued the recreation leave allowance from 1 January each year. The Minister sought to preserve the latter situation for the time being, hence the exception which he sought to commence operation on and from 3 January 1997.
For all the matters before the Commission the Minister submitted as appropriate for each group, that the amendments proposed conformed with the Guidelines of the Commission in that the re-numbering, deletions, re-wording, streamlining, translations, modernising and rescinding of the awards and their provisions were consistent with the on-going review process for awards of the Commission.
The Minister also submitted that the granting of the applications was not against the public interest.
The Unions present at the hearing confirmed and supported the submissions of the Minister including the relevant operative dates as they related to the awards for which each had an interest.
The Community and Public Sector Union (State Public Services Federation Tasmania) (CPSU) in particular whilst supporting the Minister's proposals in all matters, nevertheless, insisted this was without prejudice to its contention expressed in another matter, that the implementation of the translation clauses in the "streams" awards in relation to existing employees was not operating as the CPSU originally intended.
We have decided, with two exceptions, to accept the applications as submitted by the Minister which were supported unreservedly by all parties present at the hearing.
The exceptions are that the Title clause in all awards will be the first clause and that the Arrangement clause, renamed the Contents clause as preferred by the parties, will be the second clause.
It is with some misgiving that the Commission endorses the annualisation of the recreation leave allowance proposal on account of the inclusion in the annual salary of an allowance which is not work value related in any way whatsoever. We would have preferred that its incorporation be separately noted in each award so that it will always be possible to identify the non-work value component included in the salary amount.
However, in view of the present day emphasis on enterprise bargaining and the clear agreement between the parties, the Commission will not interfere on this aspect. We emphasise that the consent nature of these agreements operates to prevent this decision acting as a precedent in any arbitral proceedings that might arise regarding incorporation of the annual leave loading into salaries.
Appropriate orders in each case will be issued in due course following drafting conferences to be convened by Commissioner Imlach who shall have recourse to other members of the Bench if required.
F D Westwood
Date and place of hearing: