HP update

Posted November 14, 2012 by Alex Scott

As advised in our previous update in August the Full Bench of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) determined that the best way to proceed was for one individual case to be taken to arbitration for a Full Bench decision.  The first case was to be arbitrated on 20th October, having being taken to conciliation previously this case will deal with the disputed appeal outcome of a Together member.

Yet again at the last moment Queensland Health filed an application in the Industrial Court challenging the jurisdiction of the Full Bench to determine the back pay matter.  Queensland Health also sought declarations from the Industrial Court to that effect, as well as a declaration that on the legal interpretation of HPEB2 no back pay applies. They argue also that no entitlement arises by virtue of HPEB1 which contained the reference to back pay to 1 Sept 2007 because HPEB 1 no longer exists and there is no specific provision in HPEB2 in relation to back pay.

By Queensland Health filing this Application we have now not been able to proceed with arbitration of our first case but have now been drawn into a separate legal proceeding to make lengthy written and oral arguments on points of law related to interpretation of industrial instruments as well as a preliminary hearing on the admissibility of certain evidence.

This Queensland Health Application was set down to be heard on Friday 26 October but again at the last minute when the hearing had already commenced Queensland Health sought an adjournment to allow all parties who have filed disputes (not just parties to the agreements) to be made aware of the proceedings and make submissions if they see fit. A number of lawyers and individuals may now be drawn in to the proceedings making them all the more complex and time consuming.

Due to these actions by Queensland Health the current state of play is:

  • All parties who have a HP reclassification dispute already filed in the QIRC already will be notified of the proceedings by 16 November
  • Queensland Health will file its arguments objecting to affidavit evidence filed by Together by 16 November
  • All parties who wish to lodge submissions in responses must do so by 20 November
  • The hearing about admissible material will take place on 22 November
  • The hearing on back pay and the Commission's jurisdiction should go ahead on 26 November with a reserve hearing date if required on 3 December.

Members should note that a decision on the matters before the Court should not be expected immediately after the hearing however we shall advise members as soon as there are any notable developments.

As has been stated previously over the past twelve months there have been twelve QIRC hearings in the attempt to move forward with a process of resolving these matters in the Commission.  Our union's industrial staff are working very hard to ensure that the process ultimately settled on will enable members to get on with the business of actually resolving individual reclassification disputes.

Again I thank you for your patience in this matter.

 


Authorised Alex Scott, Secretary, Together.
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