The State Government has late this afternoon lodged a notification of an industrial dispute with the South Australian Employment Tribunal in relation to planned industrial action led by the Public Service Association of SA (PSA) on behalf of Correctional Services staff and other public sector employees.
The dispute – lodged under Chapter 2, Part 2 of the Fair Work Act 1994 – seeks conciliation and/or arbitration in relation to the state-wide industrial action, planned for Monday.
During a 3-hour long negotiation, attended by Department for Correctional Services Chief Executive David Brown and PSA General Secretary Nev Kitchin and union representatives from prisons across the state, the State Government sought a commitment from the PSA to ensure minimum critical staffing levels at each prison.
Treasurer Rob Lucas said this assurance is “vital to ensure the safety of the South Australian public, as well as prison officers and prisoners”.
“Despite nearly three hours of negotiations, the PSA has been unwilling or unable to guarantee that minimum staffing levels will be maintained to ensure public safety.
“Their actions have left us no other option but to lodge a notification of an industrial dispute under the Fair Work Act in the SA Employment Tribunal and we have sought an urgent compulsory conference.
“At the end of the day, the Government respects people’s right to protest, but that can never override the public’s right to feel safe.”