Consultants were recently brought into my workplace to conduct a 'departmental review,' which has led to a proposal that our department merge with another. Staff were neither consulted nor our feedback invited, creating a great deal of fear about job security. What options do we have to challenge this flawed process?
Poor management of organisational change is a recognised psychological hazard in the workplace and can occur when changes to our working conditions are poorly managed or communicated.
You might find our Poor Change Management - OHS Reps webpage helpful. WorkSafe's guide on addressing poor organisational change management provides additional information.
So, what actions can we take? We suggest initiating a conversation with your employer. Share the above information and require they improve how they manage and communicate these proposed changes.
It's crucial to remind your employer of their consultation obligations under our OHS Act.
When suggesting changes in the way work is done, your employer has a duty to consult under section 35. To fulfill these obligations (as per s.35(3)), your employer must provide information, provide employees opportunity to express their views about the matter, and consider that feedback before making a final decision.
Read more about your employer’s consultation obligations here.
If immediate resolution isn't possible, consider filling out a record of consultation form and giving them a reasonable time to reconsider.
Should consultation prove ineffective, consider issuing a PIN to prompt compliance within a specific timeframe within which your employer must either comply or challenge the PIN.
Feel free to reference this correspondence if it helps your case.
Of course, understanding our rights is just part of the challenge. We need to be able to enforce these rights while maintaining a positive working relationship with our employer.
As always, we strongly encourage workers to seek support and advice from their Union. Your Union has experienced officials who can offer additional representation and guidance if needed.