Working together to protect our future
 
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At the time of writing this article, we are at the back end of more than three long months of negotiations for our 2017 Consent Agreement (2017 CA).

At the negotiation table are the Commissioners representatives DCOP Nichols, the Director HRM and the HRM Manager. Also at the table are representatives of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Employment (OCPE), who are there on behalf of the NT Government, and of course, our NTPA team consisting of myself, President Paul McCue, Industrial and Legal Officer Rob Perry, Senior Vice President Col Goodsell, Executive member Lisa Bayliss and Regional Delegate Kris Evans. This has been my first experience being part of the NTPA negotiating team for a Consent Agreement and to say it has been interesting is an understatement, eye opening would be a better description.

The NTPA was, as usual, well prepared for the negotiations, and we had been planning for this for some time with our log of claims (based largely on the results and feedback provided by you, our members), being finalised and submitted to the other side in a timely manner, before Christmas last year, well ahead of the first meeting date scheduled for February. The idea being that it gives everyone else plenty of time to consider our claims, do some costings and be prepared for day one of negotiations. Now call me nave, but here I am thinking that the other side would be just as prepared and organised as us; after all, we have all known this date has been coming for three years. Its not like it crept up on us.

So, on the 6 February we kicked off with the first 2017 Consent Agreement meeting and disappointingly the OCPE reps were a no show, (despite getting six weeks notice of the date) and the Commissioners reps had very little anyway). We continued as best we could, but to be honest, it was pointless. Meeting number two was cancelled to give the other side more time to prepare. We get to meeting number three and finally start to make a little progress around some of the smaller less complicated issues; three weeks on from where we should be but hey, at least its a start, we have something to work with.

As we rolled on into meeting after meeting, it became fairly evident that this was not going to be an easy task. On 20 March, the other side finally presented a first round offer to us, and oh what an offer it was. Firstly, they offered a five-year deal (despite us already strongly indicating that we would not consider one), then there was the introduction of an accrued personal leave system (something that we had also already dismissed) and then there was the rejection of many of the NTPA claims with little to no discussion.

We formally and graciously rejected this offer and prepared for further negotiations.

Then, despite our best-intentioned advice, the Department decided to publish the first offer to members, via an internal broadcast, to gauge response. As expected, this obviously sparked a flurry of emails and phone calls from members to us here at NTPA HQ, confused and wondering what this offer was all about (WTF in Police terms) and seeking assurances from us that we were not even considering it. We werent and had already rejected it. You may have kept up to date with the proceedings (or lack of) through the eNews updates we sent out.

Negotiations continued over the following weeks, with some ground being made on several matters, but we were still a long way from reaching a deal that we, the negotiating team, felt was a worthy recognition of the tough job our members are doing out there, in every corner of the Territory. We had reached a stalemate in negotiations. Several more official and unofficial meetings were held in an effort for both sides to broker a deal, but alas, as I write this article, we are now into the third week of May (three weeks after the negotiation period should have concluded), and we disappointingly have nothing to put to members to vote on. The guns of war have gone silent.

Now I can only hope that by the time you are all reading this article, that the Territory Labor government has found a way to recognise, reward and thank all of you for the tough job you do as Police Officers serving the community of the Northern Territory, and has come to the party and offered you a fair and equitable salary increase. If not, well I guess were still hammering away. I hope not.

MEMBER ASSISTANCE

Whilst the Consent Agreement negotiations have obviously been a key focus here at NTPA HQ over the last few months, as Field Officer I continue to assist members with a variety of industrial, disciplinary, housing and welfare matters. For the first four months of this year thus far over 140 members have contacted me seeking advice and assistance for a range of issues. Whilst I am happy to assist members, I also encourage you to also seek the assistance of your local Regional Delegates as well. This not only allows them the opportunity to provide assistance to you locally, but they become aware of the issues happening in their workplace as well.

I also remind members that if they have queries or issues related to their pay, entitlements, conditions of service or housing matters then PFES HRM is the best place to go in the first instance (not DCIS Payroll). I also recommend that when members are making such enquiries with HRM, that they do so via email, rather than phone calls, to ensure any follow up can be done if needed. If you are unsure if the advice you have been provided is correct, I am happy to review it if needed.

JESCC 12HOUR ROSTER TRIAL NEVER SAY NEVER

In May, I attended several meetings with our NTPA Auxiliary Region Delegates from the Joint Emergency Services Communication Centre (JESCC) along with JESCC Management to try and see if a 12-hour roster trial for the Police members working in the JESCC could get any traction and support. You will recall that in early 2012 the previous 12hr roster, worked in both Katherine and the JESCC, was removed by senior management with the belief by all that it was gone for good, a very unpopular decision. Well, never say never. Thanks to the hard work done by the new JESCC Divisional Superintendent Brendan Muldoon and our NTPA Auxiliary Regional Delegates, approval has been gained for the JESCC to trial a 12hr roster for a four-month period. If during the trial period the KPIs for reduced sick leave and overtime can be met, the roster is likely to be permanently implemented. This is a significant win that demonstrates that with some hard work and a cooperative approach, a positive change can happen.

UPDATE YOUR MEMBER DETAILS FIND THE FORM ON PAGE 11

You will notice in this edition of the magazine a section for you to update your member contact details. The recent NTPA Executive Elections highlighted that there were several members who have not updated their current address and contact details with us, resulting in them not receiving ballot papers from the Australian Electoral Commission. We do not use COIN or other internal PFES systems to know that your details have changed and rely solely on the information in our own NTPA database. Please take two minutes to complete the members details form and return it to us. Even if you havent had a change in your details for some time, it will confirm for us that what we have recorded is correct. If you dont tell us, we dont know.