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Coordination and Governance of Public Sector Labour Relations

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Number:2017/03
Issue Date:08/05/2017
Review Date:08/05/2019

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TITLE

 

COORDINATION AND GOVERNANCE FRAMEWORK FOR PUBLIC SECTOR

LABOUR RELATIONS

 

POLICY

 

The Minister responsible for Industrial Relations and the Executive Director Public Sector Labour Relations (EDPSLR) have responsibility for the coordination, governance and consistent management of public sector labour relations.

 

Public Sector Labour Relations (PSLR) is the Government agency authorised to represent the Minister and EDPSLR in public sector labour relations matters.

 

Public sector bodies are required to comply with the Coordination and Governance Framework (the Framework) for Public Sector Labour Relations at Attachment A.

 

BACKGROUND

 

Public sector labour relations matters are conducted in the State industrial relations system.

 

The Framework confirms responsibility for, and clarifies processes in connection with, public sector labour relations matters. The Framework operates in conjunction with the Public Sector Wages Policy Statement as issued from time to time.

 

The Framework also outlines the relationship between public sector bodies (and their agents) and PSLR in making workforce-related decisions to ensure the Government's objectives and strategic priorities are met.

 

In implementing the Framework, PSLR places an emphasis on the areas of policy advice, negotiation and representation, consultation and communication (including arrangements for strengthening relations with key stakeholders).

 

Public sector bodies are required to consult with PSLR on issues that may have labour relations implications. This includes issues with immediate or potential consequences for Government's management of labour relations and the public sector workforce. It is critical that consultation with PSLR occurs at the earliest possible time and before views or responses are conveyed to the parties involved, including unions and/or key stakeholders.

 

Matters with implications for the Government's labour relations objectives require endorsement by the EDPSLR and, where appropriate, the Minister responsible for Industrial Relations and/or Cabinet. Labour relations matters requiring additional funding and/or with potential financial flow-on implications to the wider public sector require endorsement by the Expenditure Review Committee (ERC) and/or Cabinet approval.

 

The Framework emphasises the responsibility of Cabinet Ministers to ensure advice from the Minister responsible for Industrial Relations and/or the EDPSLR is sought in the development of Government submissions with labour relations implications.

 

For legal and practical reasons, public sector bodies are required to provide authorisation, via Warrants to Appear as Agent as prescribed under the Industrial Relations Commission Regulations 2005 (WA), for PSLR officers to appear before industrial tribunals on the bodies' behalf.

 

It is also important that public sector bodies recognise and accept that the objectives of the Government with regard to labour relations matters will, on occasion, override their own specific objectives.

 

 

 

Mark McGowan MLA

PREMIER

 

For enquiries contact:                             Alex Lyon, 6552 9398

                                                                A/Executive Director Public Sector Labour Relations

                                                                Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety

Other relevant Circulars:            
Circular/s replaced by this Circular:         2013/03


ATTACHMENT A

 

COORDINATION AND GOVERNANCE FRAMEWORK FOR PUBLIC SECTOR LABOUR RELATIONS

 

1.      This Framework has been approved by Government to ensure the coordination, governance and consistent management of public sector labour relations. The Framework, in conjunction with the Public Sector Wages Policy Statement, aims to achieve public sector labour relations outcomes that are industrially and financially sustainable, and reflect Government priorities.

 

2.      The term 'public sector body' as used throughout this Framework has the same meaning as section 3 of the Public Sector Management Act 1994 (WA) (PSM Act). The Framework also applies to entities listed in Schedule 1 of the PSM Act to the extent that a decision has been made by an appropriate body that the Framework is to apply.

 

3.      This Framework is implemented via the:

 

    a. Minister responsible for Industrial Relations;
     

    b. Executive Director Public Sector Labour Relations (EDPSLR); and
     

    c. Public Sector Labour Relations (PSLR).
     

4.      Roles and responsibilities within this process are outlined as follows.

 

MINISTER RESPONSIBLE FOR INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

 

5.      Labour relations matters that require submission to, and consideration by, the Minister responsible for Industrial Relations include (but are not limited to):

 

a. development of cross-sector and enterprise-specific labour relations regulatory frameworks and policies;
 

b. proposals from public sector bodies, including bargaining parameters for agreement negotiations, that are consistent with the  Public Sector Wages Policy Statement and for which additional funding is not required;
 

c. proposals from public sector bodies that include new or changed terms or conditions of employment not previously approved by the Government, which relate to identified business objectives and operational efficiencies, and for which additional funding is not required; and
 

d. labour relations issues that represent a risk to Government through undermining the integrity of Government policies; financial implications; or impacting the capacity of Government to manage its workforce (including potential jurisdictional issues).
 

6.      All labour relations submissions for the consideration of the Minister responsible for Industrial Relations are required to:

 

a. be endorsed by the relevant portfolio Minister;

b. detail the labour relations implications for the public sector body and Government (including the status of consultation with        PSLR); and

c. detail the funding implications and status of consultation with the Department of Treasury. 

7.      PSLR will provide advice to the Minister responsible for Industrial Relations on the labour relations implications of any submissions.

 

8.      The Minister responsible for Industrial Relations will advise public sector bodies to refer labour relations issues to the Expenditure Review Committee (ERC) and/or Cabinet where:

 

a. there are implications for management of the Government's labour relations agenda;

b. additional expenditure will be incurred; and/or

c. there are flow-on cost implications.
 

9.      The Minister responsible for Industrial Relations has delegated authority to the EDPSLR to manage Industrial Agreement and other administrative arrangements that comply with Government policy and do not require additional funding.

 

PUBLIC SECTOR LABOUR RELATIONS

 

10.   PSLR is delegated by Government to undertake the coordination and governance of all public sector labour relations matters.  This includes authority to:

 

a. provide strategic advice on cross-sector and public sector body specific matters to the Minister responsible for Industrial Relations, ERC, Cabinet and/or public sector agencies;

b. lead and/or facilitate the negotiation of Industrial Agreements on behalf of Govenrment by;
 

i.  representing public sector bodies in the conduct of negotiations for cross-sector Industrial Agreements;

ii. determining its level of involvement in negotiations conducted by a public sector body for a single agency agreement;


c. approve proposals from public sector bodies that:

i.  do not require approval of the Minister responsible for Industrial Relations;

ii.  have been endorsed by the relevant portfolio Minister where required;

iii. fall within pre-approved parameters for negotiations;

iv. are within policy;

v.  do not require additional funding; and

vi. do not represent a risk to Government as detailed at 5 (d) above; 

d. manage issues that present a potential risk to the conduct of public sector labour relations in the State industrial relations jurisdiction;
 

e. develop and issue policy statements and instructions, and circulars to public sector bodies;
 

f. issue general correspondence to Chief Executive Officers on labour relations matters;
 

g. for non-Industrial Agreement related matters (including workforce reform):

i.  facilitate or assist with general advocacy, representation, and negotiations as appropriate; 

ii.  consult with public sector bodies;

iii. communicate with parties; and

iv. implement arrangements for facilitating the resolution of disagreements between a public sector body, employees and/or organisations representing employees on labour relations matters; and 

h. obtain standing warrants to appear as agent and sign documents for public sector bodies in proceedings before industrial tribunals.
 

11.   PSLR is solely responsible for the management and maintenance of multi-respondent public sector awards.

 

GOVERNMENT MINISTERS

 

12.   Ministers are to:

 

a. ensure all public sector bodies within their portfolios are aware of, and comply with, Government labour relations policy and the requirements of this Framework –  including obligations arising out of the Public Sector Wages Policy Statement;
 

b. resolve matters at a Ministerial level where there are indications public sector bodies have not complied with this Framework;
 

c. ensure claims and other labour relations issues are referred to PSLR and, where appropriate, the Department of Treasury;
 

d. endorse submissions on public sector labour relations matters from public sector bodies, to the Minister responsible for Industrial Relations, EDPSLR, ERC and/or Cabinet;
 

e. only authorise public sector bodies to negotiate labour relations matters in accordance with prior Government approvals (i.e. from the Minister responsible for Industrial Relations, EDPSLR, ERC and/or Cabinet as delegated); and
 

f. reinforce the need for public sector bodies to provide warrants for PSLR to appear as agent and sign documents for public sector bodies in Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission proceedings.

 

PUBLIC SECTOR BODIES

 

13.   Public sector bodies are to:

 

    a. consistently and genuinely notify and involve PSLR, at the earliest opportunity, in matters which fall within the requirements of Government as specified in this Framework;
     

    b. comply with the bargaining requirements for public sector wage negotiations detailed in the Public Sector Wages Policy Statement;
     

    c. when authorised to negotiate on issues and Industrial Agreements to finality, negotiate within the specified limits of a prior Government approval and in consultation or collaboration with PSLR;
     

    d. inform PSLR of any claims or other matters with immediate or potential consequences for Government labour relations policy or which have the potential for industrial action or flow-on to other areas;
     

    e. advise the Department of Treasury of claims or matters, with labour relations budgetary impact;
     

    f. refer significant labour relations submissions to the relevant portfolio Minister for endorsement;
     

    g. provide authorisation, via Warrants to Appear, for PSLR to appear in industrial tribunals on their behalf;
     

    h. recognise and accept that Government objectives will on occasion override their own; and
     

    i. conduct themselves in a manner that recognises the broader interests and policy objectives of the Government against the specific business objectives of individual public sector bodies.

 

Acknowledgement of Country

The Government of Western Australia acknowledges the traditional custodians throughout Western Australia and their continuing connection to the land, waters and community. We pay our respects to all members of the Aboriginal communities and their cultures; and to Elders both past and present.