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CPSU helps Member win back salary maintenance

A CPSU Member received six months more salary maintenance than he was originally offered after his position was lost due to budget savings measures.

Gil Brealey was working as a Speed Camera Operator (SCO) in the North-West of the state – a position he’d been in for 15 years. In 2011 there were three SCOs in the North West region. In December that year both Gil and the two other SCOs were told it was likely their jobs would be made redundant because of savings measures in Department of Police and Emergency Management (DPEM).

Gil applied for one of two Targeted Voluntary Redundancies but missed out. He was then moved into a different role in DPEM, which meant a drop in salary. DPEM offered him six months’ salary maintenance. Since this time 14 SCO positions were abolished in DPEM, with speed camera duties falling to uniformed police**.

It was not until later he was aware that he was entitled to 12 months’ salary maintenance, rather than the six months he’d be given.

DPEM refused to pay this, saying that six months was standard for DPEM, yet in all other Departments 12 months maintenance is standard – an inequitable situation for DPEM Members.

Gil enlisted his union’s help to fight for the 12 months’ salary maintenance that he and the CPSU believed he was entitled to. After many months his case was finally heard in the Tasmanian Industrial Commission (TIC) in June 2013.

TIC Deputy President Wells found that Gil was indeed entitled to 12 months’ salary maintenance. It was found that DPEM breached the State Service Act by not seeking the Member’s consent to reduce his total rate of remuneration, and DPEM was ordered to pay six months’ salary maintenance within 28 days.

As a result of changing positions, the loss of shift allowance meant a reduction in what Gil took home. The TIC also found that this allowance was part of his wages.

This is a great result for this Member who’s been going through a family ordeal during the case.

“I’m happy I won, I just want to say how impressed I was with Celeste (CPSU Industrial Officer Celeste Miller),” Gil said.  “I couldn’t make it to a number of hearings because my son was in hospital in Melbourne but in the final hearing, it was amazing, she spoke for about an hour. I was a bit apprehensive to start with about getting the union involved but with all of Celeste’s help, I’m over the moon.”

“My son’s still recovering and the extra money is going to help a lot, as we still need to go back to Melbourne. It’s been a long drawn out process that went for about 9 months. The case was definitely secondary to my son and how he was going. One of the things that really impressed me about Celeste was she’d always ask how my son was before she started talking about the case.”

Celeste said even though all these terrible things were happening for Gil and his family at the time he was always in good spirits and we would have a laugh about something each time we spoke. 

“Many staff at the CPSU took a keen interest in this case because they heard about the tough times Gil’s family were going through and desperately wanted to see a fair outcome for him.”     

“When the decision came out and the Commission found that Gil had not been treated fairly I felt nothing but genuine relief.  “This case was not about a “win”, it was about what is right.”    

“Cases like this are the reason why I do my job, and Members like Gil are why I love my job.”

This case also sets a precedent, which will help others in DPEM in the future.

**It should be noted that since SCO positions were scrapped, there’s been a significant drop in speeding infringements, which has been widely reported in the media. You can read a couple of these articles  here and here.

The CPSU warned that the government last year (include link) that this would be one repercussion of abolishing SCOs.

 

 

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