Together Bargaining

What's really going on with your pay

The Premier has ordered a 2.2% wage increase as a response to Together members' pressure. But this increase is still smaller than what the politicians have given themselves, and back dated only until 1 December 2013 - it is neither fair nor reasonable. The fight for wages and conditions and the arbitration will continue in 2014.

What's this all about

As a union every 3 years we advocate for improved wages and conditions through a collective bargaining process. This process commenced in 2012. Due to the government's aggressive approach in these negotiations and after a full vote of all workers on their “final offer” being overwhelmingly rejected the negotiations have transitioned in to an arbitration – a process where the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission hears arguments from our union representatives and the government and then determines what the agreement will be.

See a timeline of events here.

This is the first time this has occurred for the State Government Departments Certified Agreement. The people covered by this agreement work in these agencies.

Because arbitration takes a long time as a union we sought an interim wage increase for public servants to be paid while the arbitration was decided. The government spent over twelve months and thousands of dollars fighting this all the way to the Supreme Court of Queensland, before ordering a 2.2% wage increase be paid in December 2013. The arbitration for both wages and conditions will continue however.

This is what they have been doing:

  • At every turn the PSC have sought to delay and delay again the progression of the Core arbitration.
  • The government refuses to pay an interim wage increase to ensure that workers are not disadvantaged while the arbitration takes place. This practice has long been the accepted standard. The only reason offered by the PSC for not paying an interim increase is “Queensland’s industrial relations law has changed.” This is laughable. We know how easily the government can change the law to suit itself – as it has just done to give politicians a pay increase.
  • The PSC has argued so hard against the granting of an interim increase to public service that when the Industrial Court ruled that one could be ordered, it appealed that decision to the Supreme Court of Queensland.
  • It is the PSC, under instruction from the Premier, who keep putting legal obstacles in the way to common sense and fairness.
  • Check out this timeline of events for more.

Why are they doing this

The answer is simple: they want union members to back down and accept an inferior offer.

In July this year the PSC put forward an offer that was worse than the one that was overwhelmingly rejected by staff ballot in late 2013. This offer – including a 2.2% wages increase - was presented on a “take it or leave it” basis.

The PSC insisted on agreement to their inferior offer immediately, with no ballot of members.

It is not the role of the union office to accept or reject offers. Union members are the people who make the decision through democratic vote.

The PSC even applied to the Industrial Relations Commission that the union office communications about the offer be censored and the union office be legally banned from holding a ballot of members (fortunately, the Commission rejected this). This shows how afraid they are of union members having their own voice.

Even a shoddy “staff survey,” tailor-made to deliver the PSC the result they wanted, embarrassingly revealed a strong rejection of their 2.2% wages settlement.

Union members and non-union members alike have told the government that their offer is not good enough. In response the government have:

  • continued to delay a final outcome,
  • launched ferocious attacks on union members for daring not to agree with them,
  • fast-tracked an “independent tribunal” that in three months has been created from scratch, heard submissions and written a report recommending a back dated increase for politicians.

What can we do?

We know we can influence the outcome of this process. The independent tribunal on politicians’ pay was overwhelmed with submissions from union members as well as angry members of the public. The level of public outcry is why they have been forced to walk away from their earlier, even more outrageously high, planned increase of 41% for themselves. We can make a difference.

We’re not asking for much: just for the government to play fair, acknowledge the views of its own workforce, and move towards paying the people that it claims it respects.

What's really going on with your pay

Posted by Vivenne Doogan on December 10, 2013

Queenslanders know that whatever the Newman government does, there is always more to the story behind the scenes.

Wage rise for Health workers - where is yours?

Posted by Vivenne Doogan on December 2, 2013

It has been over a year since your wage rise was due. It's time the government put common sense and decency on their agenda and gave you an interim pay increase.

Read more updates here.