Union members in Home Affairs had a big win today as the Fair Work Commission dismissed the Department’s appeal to the decision handed down about consultation.
Essentially, this means that the Commission has for the second time ruled that the Department must consult with staff on any policy, procedure or any changes to policies and procedures.
It is ridiculous that the Department ever sought to appeal the Commission's initial decision. It is unfortunate that the Department is prepared to go to such lengths over something so basic as consulting with staff. While this is a really great win – union members across the country were always disappointed that this issue had to go this far, when the Department could simply consult with workers and genuinely seek their feedback and input.
This decision was just handed down today so we are working on the next steps. What we are certain of is that union members want full and effective consultation on all policies and procedures. Members know that the structures that already exist through their union is a great and effective way to consult and to engage.
Simply putting a document on the intranet is not enough, we expect staff to be made aware that consultation is occurring and to have every opportunity to have their say. Union members have already been consulting on a range of policies and procedures and feedback has greatly improved the documents.
A meeting has already been requested so the CPSU and Department can devise an approach to consultation that works for all. This meeting is yet to be agreed to. We know that the best way to ensure policies and procedures are effective within the workplace is to consult with workers and seek their feedback.
There is more work to be done yet, but this is a big win for union members and we look forward to consulting on all policies and procedures as is our right!
Well done to all the members and delegates involved in this and everyone who has provided the excellent feedback to policies on which we’ve already consulted.