Award update - Friday 5 February 2021
The pay case the Association took before the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) concluded as positively as we could hope for on Friday 18 December 2020 with positive remarks from the bench about the work value case we had put to them.
It was disappointing then to be informed by the IRC on 24 December that it would be reserving its decision on our case due to the appeal that the PSA (Public Service Association of NSW) has lodged in the Supreme Court against their 0.3% pay decision.
We lodged an objection to that approach with the IRC, however on Monday of this week (1 February) the IRC's intent to await the outcome of the Supreme Court appeal was confirmed. The inevitable consequence of this is that we will have to wait longer for a decision on our case.
As part of the Association’s case, we have sought to have any pay increase backdated to 1 July 2020. That will form part of the Commission’s ultimate decision.
As we did throughout 2020, PANSW Members will be kept informed by updates that we post at pansw.org.au and that we alert members to by email.
In the face of ever-increasing demands on police work, NSW Police officers are becoming frustrated with unacceptable delays to resolving their next industrial Award. Police work takes a toll unlike any other profession and depends on fair pay and fair conditions.
See updates below from 21 December and 9 October and:
AWARD 2020 UPDATE #10 - Monday 21 DECEMBER 2020
The final day of our case took place before the IRC was concluded on Friday 18 December.
The closing arguments we put forward for your Award at the full day hearing covered a number of matters, including:
- Our claim for 2.5% to be awarded to police officers
- The exceptional work police officers have undertaken during 2020 and Covid-19
- Special case considerations
- Work value and productivity/ efficiency measures
- The evidence of economic witnesses
As expected the IRC decision will not be delivered until 2021.
This has been a lengthy, arduous and hard-fought case. All set against the unprecedented backdrop of the global COVID pandemic.
There was a strong sense on Friday that the hard yards put into the case by our counsel, Mark Gibian SC and Tony Slevin, and PANSW staff - Kirsty Membreno, Assistant Secretary Industrial and Tony Howell, Assistant Secretary Legal - did not fall on deaf ears. Additionally the witness statements from 31 police officers from around the State enabled us to run the case we did for you all.
Now we wait.
AWARD 2020 UPDATE #9 - Friday 9 OCTOBER 2020
Case before Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) will continue into November
- This week the pay case for your Award 2020 was arbitrated for three days before the full bench of the IRC.
- Our case is completely separate to the judgement announced last week for other public sector workers, including nurses, where a 0.3% increase was delivered.
- The focus of this week's session was on analysis from expert witnesses of the economic arguments for and against retaining a wage rise as a means of Government economic stimulus, compared to substituting that only with expenditure on largely unspecified infrastructure projects.
- Due to the lengthy debate on the economic analysis the case has been adjourned to resume on a future date yet to be fixed in November.
New light shed on the position of the NSWPF earlier this year
- This week the Association was successful in its summons to obtain a copy of the position adopted by the NSWPF on Award 2020 in its NSW Government Wages Policy Taskforce submissions.
- On both 19 December 2019 and 23 March 2020 the Commissioner's team supported an increase to salary and salary related allowances up to 2.5% per annum in line with the Wages Policy. On the basis of efforts by the Association to reach a resolution in March, the NSWPF submission of 23 March proposed a 1 year Award term. Those submissions were not taken forward into approved bargaining parameters by the Government.
- We were in discussions with Government to pursue options for negotiating a positive outcome outside of the IRC, however today Government informed us that they were no longer willing to negotiate. Despite this our door remains open and phones are on, should this change.
- As covered in earlier Award 2020 Updates we have a signed MOU between the Association and the NSWPF to preserve a set of 'Non-Award' conditions - see Award 2020 Update #8
- The 'Worth More Than Zero' social media campaign we have been running with members at Branches around the state, has been a timely and effective way to increase the visibility of our case, and to position us with the wider NSW public, regional communities and media. It has supported the Association's ongoing lobbying of NSW politicians who will now return to Parliament between 12-23 October.
- As we all know, the uncertainties surrounding Covid-19 are still with us and there are a number of different fiscal responses being made at the Federal and State levels - including the inclusion of tax cuts in the Federal Budget 2020 (a tax cut calculator is available here).
Police News journal article - 1 September
Click image to download PDF copy
AWARD 2020 UPDATE #8 - Friday 14 AUGUST 2020
NSWPF opposes back pay at the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC)
As outlined in our last Award 2020 Update on 31 July, the process of putting your pay case forward at the IRC began yesterday, Thursday 13 August. It will not recommence now until 6 October.
We thank each and every member who provided a witness statement demonstrating the work police officers do in support of a pay rise, these were tendered into evidence yesterday without objection.
In the opening statement for the Commissioner of Police the Association was advised, for the first time after many weeks of seeking an answer, that the NSWPF actively opposes any pay increase that may be awarded by the IRC being backdated to 1 July 2020 (the date after expiry of the existing Award).
In the past 12 months the police of NSW have been asked to do so much and have been forced into the court to argue for a fair go. To be told, at this point, that back pay will be opposed is quite simply a kick in the guts.
Our frustrations have been echoed today by both the Police Federation of Australia and Labor Opposition. See the link below to read their statements and our media release.
Progress achieved on MOU to preserve status quo
Since the last update, a significant and positive step is that an MOU to preserve the following 'Non-Award' conditions has now been secured and signed between PANSW and the NSWPF:
- Maintenance of the current level of contributions, benefits and entitlements under the existing Death and Disability Scheme and associated insurance policies
- Maintaining the current exemption arrangements for police officers and former police officers relating to Workers Compensation Benefits and associated entitlements and conditions
- Continuation of the 67% subsidy of First State Super Default Basic units of Insurance premiums
- Continuation of reimbursement of additional costs incurred as a result of the breach of the superannuation concessional contributions cap due to Police Blue Ribbon Insurance (PBRI) arrangements
As we have been since August last year we are continuing to press for opportunities to sit down at the bargaining table to alleviate the need for the IRC case.
Raising awareness of our case in the public sphere
During the week many members will be aware that we have been running ads on 2GB to draw attention to our case at the IRC.
The following link will take you to the audio of the messages that have been broadcast and to today's media releases on the issue of back pay and disrespect being shown.
Click here: https://pansw.org.au/news/articles/speaking-out.html
Please note that while a case is before the IRC there is a stop on any industrial action. Historically the Commission will simply refuse to hear from a workforce whilst industrial action is taken or threatened.
AWARD 2020 UPDATE #7 - Friday 31 JULY 2020
Upcoming hearings at the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC)
The process of putting the best case forward for the justifiable, modest pay increase that this state's lowball wages policy is meant to deliver continues to run, and our first hearing date for the IRC is now locked in for Thursday 13 August.
Members are aware of the significant victory that separated our case from a large number of other public service awards. We believe this is an advantage and allows the court to individually recognise the unique work that Police do. That matter has run well past the allotted timeframe and has now directly impacted on two of our hearing dates.
Against our objections, the IRC has rescheduled the remaining full hearing dates until 6-8 October. We know that our disappointment and frustration at the process being so drawn out will be shared by our members. Make no mistake this is a situation that has been brought about by decisions taken by the Premier and her Government.
At this point the evidence we have seen from the Commissioner of Police/ Government side is stubbornly centred on the often reported stance they have taken that money due to you is better spent on infrastructure projects. We have expert evidence to argue against that position. Further evidence from the Commissioner of Police will be provided in the coming week.
For our side we will be putting maximum weight on the evidence that matters most, namely affidavits that support the circumstances of police officers and the compelling justification for a pay rise, particularly when we reflect on all of the exceptional work police officers are doing across the state of NSW right now.
In parallel to this we are continuing to put pressure on the Government to accelerate a settlement and alleviate the need for the IRC case, and we have a meeting with the Minister for Police David Elliott next week to keep that pressure on.
Retaining our previous Award wins and pushing ahead
As per the reminder in the last Award Update at the beginning of this month, the existing Award 2017 and its existing provisions on pay and conditions are unchanged.
It is important for all members - especially for those who have not been with the NSWPF during an Award round - to understand that the Association always has to fight hard to preserve conditions that have been won during previous rounds.
The conditions we are focused on securing in negotiations outside the Industrial Relations Commission, and that would ensure the status quo within a MOU, include:
• Maintenance of the current level of contributions, benefits and entitlements under the existing Death and Disability Scheme and associated insurance policies
• Maintaining the current exemption arrangements for police officers and former police officers relating to Workers Compensation Benefits and associated entitlements and conditions
• Continuation of the 67% subsidy of First State Super Default Basic units of Insurance premiums
• Continuation of reimbursement of additional costs incurred as a result of the breach of the superannuation concessional contributions cap due to Police Blue Ribbon Insurance (PBRI) arrangements
AWARD 2020 UPDATE #6 - Wednesday 1 JULY 2020
Important meeting held with decision makers: Treasurer, Minister, Commissioner
A face to face meeting was finally held yesterday with the Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, the Minister for Police, David Elliott and the Commissioner of Police, Mick Fuller at which the Association argued the urgency of securing a positive outcome for Award 2020. The meeting demonstrated that our concerns are being heard at the highest level and particularly in relation to advancing our MOU issues.
Having all of the key decision makers in the same room was a positive step. It signalled a strong willingness to make progress on your Award, and gives some hope that we may yet still be able to negotiate an offer outside of the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) process.
Recently the Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has voiced repeated support for the work you do. Amongst her statements was this: "We are always looking at the right thing to do by our frontline men and women, especially the men and women of the NSW Police Force... From the Commissioner down... the Government backs them". In return, our message to the Premier is just that: do the right thing and back our members. Premier, let's sort it.
The role of police in emergency after emergency - from bushfires to floods to Covid-19 - has attracted use of terms like "Triple Zero Heroes", but without Government action the state of play remains a 'zero proposition':
- 0 percent pay rise
- 0 commitment to backpay from today, 1 July, and from the date an Award is agreed
- 0 movement, as yet, on negotiating an offer outside of going to the IRC on 11-13 August
If it remains unresolved we will have more to say on the backdating issue in our next Award 2020 Update.
Please note: Award 2017 pay and conditions still in effect
Despite the 3 year term of Award 2017 clicking over yesterday, your existing pay and conditions are unchanged, and will now 'roll over' until Award 2020 is agreed by the membership and settled with your employer, the NSW Police Force.
Serving evidence on the issue of your pay
The Association is serving evidence this week to the IRC in our case for a pay rise, as we continue to move towards a hearing, 41 days from now, on 11-13 August.
The evidence being served has been put together thanks to the invaluable statements supplied on the membership's behalf by a cross-section of members from Superintendent to Constable level.
Click on image to download.
AWARD 2020 UPDATE #5 - Wednesday 24 JUNE 2020
Since our last update on 10 June, we have the following update to make:
Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) rules 2.5% not a given – Case has to be run
Last week the full bench of the IRC heard arguments from public sector unions about the legal status of the 2.5% cap that was imposed by the Government in 2011, which has been suppressing your wage increases for almost a decade. This was part 1 of the public sector case but was not unexpected, and we have been preparing our Case anyway.
The full bench ruling determined that the Government's wages policy for awarding wage increases has a cap at 2.5%, and that increases in remuneration can be awarded by the IRC from 0% - 2.5%.
The IRC’s response about whether it has an obligation to award a set 2.5% increase was a firm, declarative "No".
Where are we now? Putting our best evidence forward
Our Case is going to be presented to the IRC separately. The Association's priority has remained focused on putting together the strongest case possible to the IRC to secure an Award containing better pay and conditions for police officers.
We are in the final week of preparing the evidence for our Case as provided by members from around the state and in various sections. We again thank all those members who have contributed to this vital work which is a testament to what you are doing on behalf of the entire membership.
Once our brief is submitted, the Commissioner/Government have three weeks to submit their evidence in reply. The IRC hearing dates for our Case have been confirmed for 11-13 August.
Show Some Respect and sign a deal outside of the IRC
Emergency after emergency the great work you have been doing – in the face of hostility and increased assaults – has been exceptional. The politicians have been full of praise, including the Premier who has said “Police should be Respected”. We agree! And the best way to show that respect is to sit down with us at the negotiating table to resolve our matter outside of the court system. You Deserve the respect which = a Pay Rise now.
As covered in earlier updates we were left with no option but to lodge a Case with the IRC. This should not be what we have to do, but the Government has not given the Commissioner the ability to negotiate since we first opened discussions in August last year. I WANT TO BE CLEAR, the Commissioner still has no permission to make a deal - this is a disgrace! The offer from the Government instead is a $0 pay rise.
We are disappointed these endeavours have fallen on deaf ears. This Government does not value you enough to offer a pay rise, given the fact the current Award period expires on 30 June and will certainly now drag on beyond 1 July 2020.
What about a backdate to the 1st July?
The Association has made repeated requests to the Minister and to the Commissioner’s Legal Counsel, the Crown Solicitor's Office, seeking an assurance that changes to your pay will be backdated regardless of how long this takes to resolve.
As of today we have not had any response to this request. To put it mildly the silence on this is insulting. We believe the lack of response to this issue is the last straw in retaining our patience.
The praise and platitudes we keep hearing are empty words if they are not backed by action. It's time we see some action from your employer on this.
AWARD 2020 UPDATE #4 - Wednesday 10 JUNE 2020
Since our last update on 3 June, we have the following update to make:
PANSW wins in Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) to separate police case
Your Association appeared in a hearing before the IRC Chief Commissioner Nichola Constant today. The Chief Commissioner agreed that the Award case for Police Association members will be heard separately and on its own timetable.
This is a big advance on where things sat last week, when our case was about to be lumped in with other unions. As pushed for by the Association this ensures that the evidence we file and serve to the IRC will put forward the best possible case for securing a positive outcome for Award 2020.
We now have 3 weeks for the Association to build the strongest case possible on the evidence that members have been providing to our Industrial and Field teams. Member statements are vital, and we thank all those who have contributed to this major effort. The hearing will most likely be in August.
This does not mean that the Government - through the Minister of Police - and the Commissioner are unable to sit down before this all plays out, in order to negotiate a fair deal.
Despite our efforts to resolve this issue since August last year, the matter will most likely not be resolved by 1 July 2020. We have demanded that the Commissioner consent to a backdate regardless of how long this takes to resolve.
There is a hearing of the full bench of the IRC next Thursday, 18 June, purely to decide whether the IRC can award less than 2.5% pay rise under the legislation.
Our position is clear: The Commissioner of Police should be vigorously pursuing Government for the authority to resolve our matter outside of the court system.
AWARD 2020 UPDATE #3 - Wednesday 3 JUNE 2020
Since our last update of 27 May, we have the following updates to make:
Victory in the Upper House of the NSW Parliament on 2 June
As anticipated, the influence we brought to bear on lobbying the cross-benches in the Legislative Council (Upper House) of the NSW Parliament was successful and the Government's move to regulate for a Pay Freeze was voted down.
When the motion was put to the vote yesterday in Parliament the result was 22 against the regulation and 15 for it. The 22 votes on the winning side came from the: Australian Labor Party (12); Green Party (3); Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (2), NSW One Nation (2); Animal Justice Party (2) and independent MP Justin Field.
For anyone interested in a transcript of the debate on the motion, you can read the official record here. In his speech the Leader of the Opposition Adam Searle made frequent reference to a study of the impact of a public sector pay cut, especially regional impacts, based on research by The Australia Institute.
On the day itself, PANSW was at Parliament where we received direct messages of support from Shooters, Fishers and Farmers and NSW One Nation - captured here.
Attention now shifts to the Industrial Relations Commission
Your Association is now focused on preparing and presenting our case in the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) to secure members a pay increase for the 1 July Award. This now involves opposing being joined to the broad public sector case and seeking that the case for Police Officers be heard separately.
Part of our position is that the clear will of Parliament is that there be no Pay Freeze, and that as police you deserve a fair and just pay rise.
We acknowledge and thank the dozens of members who have been working with our Industrial and Field teams to provide evidence to put before the IRC as part of our case. If you would like to assist please reply to this email ( email@example.com)
There is still time open for the Government and the Commissioner to sit down and negotiate a fair deal. We are pressing for that to happen.
The public arena
There is solid public sentiment behind frontline workers and first responders that indicates that the hardline approach the Government has chosen to take lacks support.
AWARD 2020 UPDATE #2 - Wednesday 27 MAY 2020
Today the Government announced its intention to impose a 12 month wage freeze that would mean that there would be no 2.5% increase in pay for the year 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021.
Our response at this point has three legs to it:
The Upper House of the NSW Parliament
As communicated by your Association last week we have a firm political strategy in place which will, as anticipated, now shift to drawing on the firm support of the Cross-benches in the Upper House of the NSW Parliament to defeat this measure. [An example of this is copied below].
The Industrial Relations Commission
As outlined in last week's Award 2020 Update on Thursday 21 May, the Police Association of New South Wales has taken our position on the Award to the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC).
The IRC moved swiftly to commence proceedings on our variation application and a teleconference with Chief Commissioner N Constant was held today. The strategy for this is that we put robust legal arguments forward for preserving our position and advancing the case for the status quo of a 2.5% pay increase along with all current Memorandum of Understanding inclusions.
The public arena
This is a matter of high public and media interest. Already today the Association's Secretary, Pat Gooley, has represented the position we hold to media at a press conference alongside the leadership of the Public Service Association of New South Wales and the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association at Unions NSW.
The concerns we are receiving from the membership are not going unheard. We have been working behind the scenes for months on this, and will continue to do so to provide the best possible outcome for the membership.
We will be your voice and we will keep you informed through these Award 2020 Updates.
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An example of support in the Legislative Council from the Hon. Rod Roberts:
AWARD 2020 UPDATE #1 - Thursday 21 MAY 2020
As members know, the current three-year Award agreement that you are employed under, and that sets your pay and conditions, expires on 30 June.
Key dates so far have included:
- On 9 August 2019 we first wrote to the Minister to initiate discussions.
- A formal log of claims was lodged with the Commissioner in December 2019, and numerous meetings have been held with the Minister and the Commissioner since then.
- On 20 March, during the pandemic, members will recall we proposed that we could consider proceeding to negotiate on a 12 month roll-over Award, with a 2.5% pay increase and all current Memorandum of Understanding inclusions. This position was also taken to the Minister of Police, the Hon. David Elliott, on 20 March.
- At our most recent meeting with the Commissioner of Police, on Tuesday 19 May, our negotiating team was again advised that your employer is still not in a position to continue formal Award negotiations as they do not have any parameters to do so from Government.
The action we have taken today
As there are now less than 28 working days remaining before 30 June, we have formed the position that continued delays in 'getting to the table' are unacceptable.
Consequently we have had no choice but to go to the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) today with what is called a variation application to the Award.
This has the essential purpose of utilising the IRC to put an end to the delays and to accelerate the commencement of negotiations consistent with the current Wages Policy in NSW.
Our IRC application clearly sets out the base parameters of what we are seeking from your employer, which, as stated above, is a 2.5% pay increase and all current Memorandum of Understanding inclusions.
Being in the middle of a crisis period does not in any way lessen the importance of securing progress on the Award.
Rest assured we will continue to pursue a positive outcome for Award 2020 with all means at our disposal, and that we have a solid political strategy in place.
We will keep you informed through further Award 2020 Updates as soon as we receive new information and signs of genuine progress.