Together News - December 2016

Posted on December 20, 2016

Welcome to Together News for December. Congratulations on all your hard work in 2016, we hope you have a very safe and happy break over the holiday period or if you are working that you have some great festive cheer. Read on for more updates from across the union. 

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Members win Your Protections at Work

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Union members have secured a win on an issue of massive importance in the Queensland public sector: job security.

Earlier in 2016, a new industrial relations bill was put before state Parliament that contained some improvements that were welcomed by public servants; however, the issues of temporary employment and workloads still remained to be properly addressed. With a government ready to pass worker-friendly legislation, we had a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix the problems with employment security in the Queensland public service.

The number of employees on temporary contracts in the Queensland public sector has been rising steadily. Work that should be performed by permanent staff is increasingly being performed by people whose ability to acquire permanency is less than those in the private sector. Union members came together to take action as part of the Your Protection at Work campaign because the misuse of temporary employment is an issue that affects everyone.

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From submitting personal stories to signing petitions and meeting face to face with government and crossbench MPs, Together members have been hard at work engaging in the political process to secure better outcomes for members and public sector workers. In the last week of Parliament for 2016, members secured these wins with the passing of legislation that will give temporary workers access to an Appeals Officer to appeal their employment status.

The work members did to lobby politicians, engage in the political process and influence the decisions of politicians, be it on the floor of parliament or through drafting legislation, means temporary workers now have the opportunity to gain more secure employment. Together members were influential in the creation of amendments to strengthen our protections at work and ultimately the passing of this bill through parliament.

For more detail on the legislation passed and how it will work, you can read an explainer here.

Congratulations to all the members who campaigned extensively for these changes to your protections at work. Make sure your colleagues know what you achieved for your workplace and ask them to join your union.


A new era for QSuper

Qsuper - Growing your super together

The Queensland Parliament has now passed legislation that means QSuper is one step closer to opening its doors to anyone who would like to join the fund.

This means that in the future anyone will be able to join and enjoy all the benefits membership has to offer, regardless of where they work.

The changes will remove the requirement for members to be current or former Queensland public sector employees or their spouses. There are still a number of things that need to be done before QSuper can open its doors – this includes for friends and family of existing members who have been asking about joining us for a number of years.

Due to take effect on 30 June 2017, QSuper is now focused on working with regulators to secure appropriate licensing to become an open fund.

The Queensland Government has also announced that they intend to offer their employees choice of fund. This means that they will be able to choose where their super contributions are made.

It’s important to note that there will not be any change to any existing arrangements for members with a Defined Benefit, State or Police account. However, if these members wish to transfer to another super fund, then their Defined Benefit (or State or Police) account will be closed and they will not be able to reopen it.

While there will be changes ahead, what won't change is our commitment to making members feel secure about their financial future. You won’t notice anything different about your QSuper account as part of this change.

So you can rest assured that you’ll continue to receive the same great benefits of being a QSuper member that you are already used to. Our existing members are still the most important thing to us, and that’s something that will never change.

Further information

If you want to know more, visit qsuper.qld.gov.au/opentoall where you can also register to stay in the loop by registered to receive regular updates.  Or you can call us on 1300 360 750 and we’ll be happy to have a conversation. 

This information is provided by QInvest Limited (ABN 35 063 511 580, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence Number 238274) which is ultimately owned by the QSuper Board (ABN 32 125 059 006) as trustee for the QSuper Fund (ABN 60 905 115 063). Unless we let you know otherwise, all products are issued by the QSuper Board as trustee for the QSuper Fund. When we say 'QSuper', we're talking about the QSuper Board, the QSuper Fund, QSuper Limited or QInvest Limited, unless the context we're using it in suggests otherwise.

We've put this information together as general information only so keep in mind that it doesn't take into account your personal objectives, financial situation, or needs. Before you make any decision to acquire a product, or to keep hold of one you already have – you should download a copy of the product disclosure statement at qsuper.qld.gov.au or call us on 1300 360 750 and ask for a copy.


Queensland Health pressuring Minister for answers

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Over the last few months Together members have met, rallied, stopped work and voted in over 140 Protected Action Ballots (PABs) to put pressure on Queensland Health (QH) and the government to get a better offer. They forced the government to give a revised offer on 29 November but now QH and the Minister are dragging the chain again.

In the revised offer it was great to see real movement on job security for temporary employees but the biggest question from members was about back pay to the expiry of members current agreement.

Health delegates sent a letter to QH to accept that offer, to protect the 1 November operative date and to tell QH they need to make a revised offer on back pay and other issues.

Over 2 weeks later, Health members finally got a response from QH. Frustratingly the issues of back pay and the operative date were still not resolved. These questions are urgent and legitimate and health members deserve to have these questions answered especially with Christmas just around the corner.

Health members are now putting the pressure on the Minister to get some answers before Christmas. They are telling Minister Dick not to be the Grinch this Christmas. In just a few days, over 550 members have directly emailed Minister Dick to demand some certainty before the Christmas break.

For the most up-to-date news on the Health agreements, go here for EB9 and here for HPDO.

Members have made a difference to what the next 3 years of their work life will look like. Keep up the great work and keep emailing the Minister!


Overwhelming support from QANTAS staff for EB11

A historic 93.6% of QANTAS staff have voted overwhelmingly to endorse EBA 11, making it one of the strongest supported EBAs ever negotiated by our national union, the Australian Services Union.

While staff agreed to an 18-month wage freeze from July 2016 – January 2018, members negotiated one-off bonuses of 5% of an individual’s yearly income and a record bonus of $3000.

The new agreement contains groundbreaking provisions that have not been previously available at QANTAS, such as family violence leave. QANTAS is leading the way on domestic violence leave with this agreement, as one of the first major private sector employers to provide this for their staff.

There’s also an extra 2 weeks paid parental leave that staff can opt to direct to their superannuation. Primary carers, who are overwhelmingly women, will receive 12 weeks of parental leave and an additional 2 weeks of salary that can be taken as pay or put into super. This is a positive step forward for QANTAS’ predominantly female workforce and will go a long way in helping close the gender gap in retirement income.

Another win for members is that QANTAS employer super contributions will now be 10% while the capped federal government rate is 9.5%.

Congratulations to all QANTAS members on this great result!  Thank you to Together delegates Melinda Price and Pat Ramen for their hard work and commitment to ensuring all members got a fair deal.

This goes to show that union members are powerful when they stand up for their rights and conditions at work.


Corrections members work for solutions to challenges with new Minister

After a successful bargaining campaign in 2016 which saw significant improvements in the Custodial Corrections classification structure and reinstatement of the administrative top up of Workers Compensation payments for Officers injured in the line of duty, Corrections delegates have already turned the focus to the ongoing challenges that members continue to face.

Key amongst those challenges is dealing with the ongoing issues of overcrowding. At a recent meeting with the new Minister, Mark Ryan, Corrections delegates stressed to the Minister that it was time significant changes were made to give officers the tools and authority they need to manage prisoners.

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It’s clear that the ongoing crowding issues won’t be fixed overnight and that we need to be implementing changes that will have an immediate effect as well as more medium and long term solutions.

To that end, delegates have been leading a conversation with Together members to develop a list of proposals that we think could make a real difference.

This list will include short-term actions such as the immediate return of industries to 7-day operations, increased control and restraint training and the introduction of incentive schemes to reward positive behaviour.

It will also include longer term solutions including the infrastructure changes to open more cells and improve the security of officer’s stations.

We will refine this list and present it to the Department and the Minister before the end of 2016.


Enterprise Bargaining Update: Business Asset Services

The Building and Asset Services Office Staff Certified Agreement has been certified as of 7 December 2016.

Proposed Agreement

The agreement for BAS office staff forms part of the government’s commitment to restore fairness for public sector workers. Key features of the proposed agreement include:

  • a 3-year agreement
  • an operative date of 1 June 2016
  • a nominal expiry date of 31 May 2019
  • wage increases to both salary schedules in-line with government wages policy:
    • 2.5% wage increase from 1 June 2016
    • 2.5% wage increase from 1 June 2017
    • 2.5% wage increase from 1 June 2018
  • clauses that recognise that there are a variety of employees in the department covered by the same award with inconsistent employment conditions and a commitment to having constructive conversations to align BAS office staff employment conditions
  • the continuation of existing agreement provisions (with the exception of a few clauses that were transitional provisions in the 2013 agreement)
  • the re-introduction of certain provisions previously excluded from the agreement or were removed.

Congratulations to all BAS Staff and to delegates Lisa Edwards, Michael Hart, Neville De Koning and Stephen Reeves who worked hard to get a better deal for members


TAFE members vote YES!

It’s been a positive and eventful year with Queensland TAFE employees having their Modern Award finalised in May and then concluding two sets of enterprise bargaining to establish two separate collective agreements for Services employees and Educators in September.

The negotiation process was fairly quick but there was a lot of good will from both sides. Members saw most of their conditions improved and voted overwhelmingly in support for the new agreement.

The results were: 

Service employees: Yes - 96.4% || No - 3.6%

Educator employees: Yes - 95.8% || No - 4.2%

Once all parties sign off on the agreement, TAFE Queensland will lodge the two separate collective agreements with the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) before Christmas. Upon approval by the QIRC, members can expect to have their wage increases applied soon thereafter. Unfortunately, this date is unknown as it is dependent on the QIRC and the ability of the employer to process in payroll. Wage increases for Services employees and Educators will be backdated to their respective dates as agreed.

Thank you to union delegates for their hard work and efforts in speaking up and representing members interests throughout bargaining. They’ll also need continued support as there is a lot of work still to do over the life of the two agreements, such as developing or reviewing procedures or guidelines to adopt best practice for discipline procedure; managing performance; temporary conversion to permanent; establishing a review of classification levels of student support (disability) roles in TAFE Queensland.

Your Bargaining Delegates were for Services employees were:  Tamara Williams from TQ South West; Catherine Piroli from TQ North; Brett Ahchay from Skills Tech & Wade Mayes from TQ Brisbane.  Your Bargaining Delegates for Educators were:  Ronald Birch from TQ East Coast; Mark Arundell from Skills Tech. 

So with another big year behind us, have a safe and enjoyable break over the Christmas period as we look forward to working with you to making our workplaces stronger in 2017!   


CUB union members win after national boycott!

For the past six months, the CUB 55 have been the Australian union movement’s national story. 55 electricians, fitters and members of the AMWU and ETU who were sacked from their jobs at Carlton United Brewery only to be offered their jobs back at drastically reduced wages and conditions ran an incredibly successful campaign that captured the nation’s attention and showed us all why being a member of your union matters.

These workers had their hire contractor changed and an agreement struck with that contractor could have potentially offered them wages at just 50 cents above the award rate. It was later discovered that the agreement was voted on by just 3 casuals and signed off by a 23-year-old casual who had only worked for the company for 6 days.

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Members refused to sign up to these terms and walked off the job in June. They picketed the worksite, held rallies and in September thousands of member and supporters marched on the worksite in protest of CUB’s actions.

The workers also gained nationwide support through the Boycott CUB campaign - union members nationwide refused to buy CUB beers, cutting off demand of the employer's products.

Earlier this month, the picket ended when a deal was struck and the CUB 55 were invited to return to work under union wages and conditions. It was only because of the strength of these union members, supported by the wider union movement, that this outcome was achieved.

Well done to the CUB 55. It’s a proud time to be union!


Together financial statements


Together financial statements for the state of the union for the period 1/7/15 - 30/6/16 are now available. Click here to view them.


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1800 177 244
members@together.org.au
Connect today 1800 177 244 members@together.org.au