Together News - July 2017
We are now more than half way through the year and it's time for July's edition of Union News! There is so much going on across our union, so read on!
Don’t forget: use Together MyPage for your tax statement for the last financial year or to update your membership details. You can like our Facebook page here, follow us on Twitter and on Instagram.
School Support Staff Recognition Week
Next week is School Support Staff Recognition Week! Every school has been sent a celebration kit of posters, stickers and balloons – if they have not arrived yet, any day now! You can also print additional posters here.
Schools members, celebrate and be celebrated. Without our great state schools wouldn't run - you are the stars in our school!
New directive for temporary employees in the public sector
Together members have been campaigning to strengthen job security in the public service for many years and last year successfully lobbied the government to make a significant breakthrough for long term temporary workers. As a result of members' hard work, a new employment directive for temporary employees is now in effect and outlines the process for converting long term temporary staff to permanent employment.
Click here to read the Directive.
The directive applies to public sector workers who have been a temporary in their role for more than 2 years. Union members will have access to support and representation during the transition from temporary to permanent employment. There are separate surveys for different areas of the Queensland public sector: one for Queensland Health, one for schools, and one for other areas of the public sector.
If you have work mates who you want to see in secure employment, make sure you let them know the work done by Together members, ask them to join your union.
Queensland Health Members secure their well-earned backpay
Thanks to the collective strength and hard work of Together members who took action, attended hours and hours of negotiations, attended rallies, emailed politicians and convinced colleagues to join their union - Health workers received their backpay for their new agreement at the end of June.
Back pay for health workers was not guaranteed. Members faced an employer who refused to pay health workers their back pay. It was only because hundreds of members became active and
Without union members, and particularly without the amazing HPDO and EB9 delegates, who have spent months and months coming up with issues to raise, attending negotiations, planning and taking industrial action, doing political lobbying and making a stand none of this would be possible.
Congratulations to Health members for a fantastic campaign and winning an agreement that will improve the workplaces and lives of every public sector health worker in the state.
Award wages increase, but inequality still a threat
Union members have convinced the Fair Work Commission to increase minimum and award wages by 3.3%. This is the biggest increase to the base level wages in over 5 years! While its not everything that union members were asking for - this is still a good win for the lowest paid workers in the country.
Congratulations to those members who participated in the Better Pay Better Life campaign. Your work, along with thousands of other union members across the country made this result happen!
However, while it's important to celebrate this union win, it is only a small relief to the pressures Australian workers are currently facing. In the same week we found out that Australian business profits were up almost 40%, it was confirmed that the average Australian cost of living is out-pacing increases in our wages. This negative wage growth means it's getting harder and harder to balance the family budget while employers are pocketing more and more of our share.
It's clear the minimum wage no longer protects families from poverty. It's time for us to Change the Rules.
The expert panel admitted that raising the minimum wage won’t cost jobs but to win we need to build a movement and get the public onside. The answer is a strong union movement that demands our politicians rewrite the rules and can keep employers power in check. When you talk to your family and friends about work - tell them that we can swing the pendulum back in the favour of workers, tell them to join their union!
Retirement not so super for women
Our national union the Australian Services Union has teamed up with think tank Per Capita to research retirement security for women. Over 4000 workers participated in surveys and told their stories about retirement.
The results of the research were stark but not surprising. Australia's compulsory superannuation system is failing women. According to the latest figures women are retiring with around half as much super as men.
The report shows that the superannuation gap exists because on average women's work is more intermittent and lower paid than that of their male counterparts. This combined with the fact that women still do the majority of unpaid housework, parenting and caring, has meant that the benefits of super have not flowed on.
ASU National Secretary David Smith said, "The ASU’s surveys revealed heartbreaking stories of women who will work most of their lives only to reach retirement facing a life of poverty." You can read the report and recommendations here.
Be a Weekend Warrior!
Our Sundays matter! Sundays are a time for us to relax and spend, time with loved ones, and do thing we enjoy. Those who work on Sunday we get extra pay as compensation for missing out on this time.
But Sundays are under attack. Many people who work in hospitality - the people who serve us brunch, make us coffee and pour our beers on Sunday can now have their Sunday penalty rates stripped away by their employers.
We know that if we let employers get away with cutting workers' pay in these industries now, next year employers in other industries will follow their lead.
While businesses are deciding whether to cut penalty rates or not, it is the most important time to let the businesses you support know you want them to protect weekend rates.