The decision by the Rockliff government to abolish the Department of Communities Tasmania has caused significant upheaval for many workers, not least those in Corporate Service and the Office of the Secretary. In case you missed our last update detailing our concerns about the lack of consultation with workers, Click Here to read on the CPSU website.
Despite doing a fantastic job of building a new Agency from scratch in just 4 years, they are now being cast to the winds – some going to State Growth, some going to DPAC, some going to Education and some going to the new Housing Authority (which may mean going to Health or State Growth). How it has been determined where they will be going is not clear.
Consultation documents tell us that a Finance working group made the initial allocations based on establishment data. These allocations were then discussed and modified by a HR working group who sent the details to the receiving Agencies. The receiving Agencies proposed further changes that were ultimately sighed off by a Heads of Agency working group. Staff then received letters telling them where they would be going.
Where was the consultation? The CPSU believes staff should have access to the decisions made about them at each stage of this process – not just the final decision.
The CPSU objected to this process from the beginning. We said it treated workers like chattel and that staff deserved a real say in where they we to be sent. We were told everyone was happy with the allocations but if someone had a problem, they could raise a grievance. We now know many staff are far from happy with the process.
Unsurprisingly many DCT staff are choosing their own future by applying for jobs in other Agencies. We are now hearing rumours that the Head of the State Service, Jenny Gale, has told Agencies they are not allowed to offer DCT staff roles because she wants them to remain in their current roles until they transfer in October. While we understand the need to continue to provide service to DCT until the end, we can also understand why members might want to get out.
This rumour can’t be true because the Head of State Service simply doesn’t have that power. DCT staff are free to apply for vacancies across the State Service and to be considered for those roles on merit. If they are offered a role, they have a right to accept the other role and provide DCT reasonable notice – a minimum of 2 weeks. If the role they accept is a fixed term one, then their substantive position would still transfer to a new Agency, and they would return to their substantive position at the end of their fixed term appointment.
Any selection panel which fails to offer a DCT applicant a job for any reason other than merit is breaching the State Service code of conduct and risks investigation and serious sanction.
We are also receiving questions about whether staff have a right to be consulted if the Agency they transfer to wants to change their duties. The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. We suggest DCT staff ask to be provided an up-to-date Statement of Duties for their current role before any transfer as it would be from this document consultation of changes to their Statement of Duties would occur.
There is still time for DCT to properly consult with staff about these changes and we strongly encourage them to do so.
If you have any concerns, feedback, or wish to share any recent information you have received, please get in touch at CPSUDirect@tas.cpsu.com.au.