Audit Commission, Government Offer - Your Wages and Conditions and our 9 Point Plan

Posted June 18, 2012 by Alex Scott

Last week was a huge week - this email is longer than those I have been sending you to date, however there are 3 parts and I hope you understand that the material requires a bit of explanation.

Many of you will also now have received a summary of the EB offer from your CEO's or DG's. Below is our summary as well. As soon as further documents are made available from Government delegates will be sent full kits on the 'offer' as it has been put by public sector industrial relations on Friday afternoon.

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Audit Commission Report

The interim Committee of Audit report is a shallow exercise that fails to deal with the major issues facing the public sector.

The report doesn't fundamentally change the analysis of the budget before the last election. The report uses a number of economic assumptions - treating the past several years of the global financial crisis (GFC) and natural disaster recovery as normal for example - to paint a picture of the budget as being 'far worse than expected' when in reality the situation is no worse than we already knew prior to the 2012 election.

The report doesn't deal with the revenue side of the equation at all - as the economic environment has changed, state government revenue streams have been hollowed out by a decrease in the GST and the selloff of valuable state assets while the need for services has been steadily increasing. Instead of addressing this question, the report has mainly been a presentation on how bad things are, ignoring that the spending in recent years has been necessary to improve services in agencies like Queensland Health.

There is nothing in this report to say that the environment has changed from when the new Government made its no forced retrenchments promise in March. There is no case for any public sector jobs to go as a result of this report. However, that is exactly the rhetoric we are potentially going to see coming soon - and attacks on some entities such as CITEC, GoPrint, QBuild, SDS and Shared Services. We will release more analysis soon and no doubt the government will continue to talk about this report as well.

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Government Offer - Wages and Conditions

For those members who fall under the 'Core' and related EB's - (most government agencies other than Transport and Main Roads and Queensland Health) - over the last few weeks we have been reporting on negotiations with government representatives on the issues we have raised.  On Friday afternoon we received the counter claims from Government.

This "offer" has been approved by the Cabinet Budgetary Review Committee.

There is a significant gap between the offer that has been made by government and what we have asked for. The government is proposing to remove conditions and entitlements that you currently have. The freezing of all increments is a big concern and is exactly like the offer that has currently been put to the Teachers Union for school teachers and Doctors in Queensland Health (both these groups are bargaining now as well). Basically, the offer is 2.2% wage rise per year and cuts to conditions. This is the first offer from Government however - we will need to take action to change this.

Here are the key points of the offer:

  • 2.2% per annum wage increases, each year, for 3 years
  • Removal of all items impeding managerial prerogatives from the Agreement 
  • Removal of items impeding managerial prerogatives from the Public Service Award 
  • A freeze on all increments (that is, no worker would receive an increment during the life of the Agreement)
  • Employment Security provisions would be taken out of the Agreement and replaced by a Policy.

The following matters currently in the Agreement would be removed entirely:

  • Consultative Committees
  • Training 
  • ILO conventions 
  • Workload Management 
  • Career Paths 
  • Climate Change

The following provisions would be removed but remain in policies the Award or Directives or Legislation:
(These policies may not be enforceable in the same way the agreement currently is)

  • Equity considerations
  • On call provisions (allowances etc)
  • Cultural leave 
  • Parental leave 
  • Collective Industrial Relations
  • Union Encouragement 
  • Union Delegates 
  • Industrial Relations Education Leave 
  • Workplace Bullying and Harassment 
  • Work/Life Balance

To improve this offer we will need to take action. Our Agreement doesn't expire until the end of July - now is the time to get involved! Email bargaining@together.org.au if you would like to be a contact for your workplace. Delegates and contacts will be contacted in the coming days regarding activities to do with the  9 point plan and holding meetings to accept or reject this offer.

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9 Point Plan for a Better Public Service

I emailed members last week again about our 9 point plan and the Premiers offer to consider this in talks with senior government officials.

This week I am asking you, as individuals and groups of members, to consider the 9 point plan and vote to endorse it. We need to demonstrate a groundswell of support for the plan - as you can see above - employment security is under attack and we need to act now.

Go to http://www.together.org.au/betterpublicservice/what-do-we-want/ to show your support for the plan. Delegates and contacts - we have a meeting kit about the plan ready to go - email me at alex@together.org.au or contact your organizer to register for your copy of the kit and we'll email it straight out to you so you can run a group meeting about the plan. You may also like to add the bargaining offer update to your meeting agenda. If you have a group endorse the plan then register support here: http://www.together.org.au/betterpublicservice/what-do-we-want/delegates/

It is vitally important we show widespread support for this initiative before the end of June - this is a critical time to focus on these issues and demonstrate to politicians that thousands of public servants care about this.

PS: The Queensland Teachers Union are running a protest action this week in support of their bargaining agenda - for those members in the Brisbane CBD area on Wednesday please come along and show your support - 4pm outside Parliament House - in between Parliament House and the Botanical Gardens (Alice Street and George Street corner). It would be great to show our solidarity with the teachers at this time.

 


Authorised Alex Scott, Secretary, Together.
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