No appeal on redundancy is just not right

Tuesday 29 Oct 2013

The Barnett Government has introduced a new public sector redundancy bill to State Parliament. The bill is similar to The Queensland Government's laws that saw the dismissal of 14, 000 public sector workers, including in Health. 

The biggest problem with the new legislation is that public sector employees will not be able to appeal their position being made redundant.

There is no way for an employee to know if they are being treated fairly, as without any right of appeal there is no legal way to question a redundancy decision.

This makes it easier for unscrupulous managers to use the new law to get rid of staff members for personal reasons.

There is no transparency in the proposed system, not even Parliament will know if positions have genuinely been abolished.

The system is entirely reliant on senior managers and their capacity and willingness to question decisions.

In the Metro area it is likely that the effect of the changes will be limited for the foreseeable future by the large number of employees on fixed term contracts, the growth and demand for staff of all types, and the usually reasonable scope for redeployment. With the pressure being applied by activity based funding this may be wishful thinking.

The situation for members in the country is less certain, and more unfair.  There are usually more limited opportunities for redeployment in regional areas so if there is a restructure, or a position is abolished it is hard to see how this will not result in a forced redundancy.

It is difficult to see why these changes are needed. The Minister for Health routinely states that more staff will be needed in WA Health in the coming years. Voluntary severance is usually popular and well supported.

It is hard to see a fair scenario in the Health sector where there would be a need for forced redundancies. 

Colin Barnett says he is not Campbell Newman. Only time will tell.

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