Together News - November 2016
Welcome to Together News for November. Below are a few of the many stories of wins and achievements happening across our union membership.
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Queensland Health members lodge ballots for action
Queensland Health members have been negotiating new collective agreements that secure fair wages and better conditions. After months of negotiations, Queensland Health gave administration, operational, professional and technical members an insulting offer that was nothing more than a 2.5% wage increase. Health practitioners and dental officers are still waiting for an offer from Queensland Health but from the negotiations so far they are expecting something similar.
Members have stood together and mobilised for large public meetings, and taken action online. However, Queensland Health has not revised their position. We know from past negotiations that Queensland Health decision makers change their minds, only when members threaten and take bold action. Members across Queensland Health have lodged protected action ballots and will be voting to take action over the coming weeks.
Congratulations to all of the members who have stood up by lodging Protected Action Ballots to force Queensland Health decision makers to listen and give them the respect they deserve!
Great win for eHealth members!
Members in eHealth have mobilised to win better consultation and job security in their workplaces.
In August, union delegates forced eHealth management to commit to meaningful consultation with union members before staffing changes and made them back down on their plans to make temporary workers who had already been through a merit process to reapply for their roles.
More recently, Central Queensland delegates have been leading the charge in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission to get permanent positions filled. Members across the state sent in solidarity selfies to show their support. They have managed to ensure that temporary contracts were extended until the 31 January and got agreement for some permanent positions to be filled. Further hearings/meetings with management will be occurring in the coming weeks.
Well done to the delegates and members in eHealth who have signed up lots of new members and stood with their colleagues fighting unfair treatment by management!
Stand up for paid parental leave, a workplace entitlement
Australia’s Paid Parental Leave scheme is one of the least generous in the developed world. In fact, in a recent analysis by The Economist, Australia’s scheme ranked 2nd last, just above the United States that has NO government support scheme for mothers.
Taking time off to recover from birth and then use your body to raise and feed an infant is not a holiday, it's not a rort or a fraud - it is a legitimate workplace entitlement won by union members.
So it's just incredible that the Federal Government is attempting to repair their budget by scrapping the PPL for almost 80,000 Australian mothers. The disturbing news is the government almost have the numbers to do so. The only votes standing between the government and a scrapped PPL is Nick Xenophon's team in the Senate.
Before the election, Senator Xenophon promised not to touch PPL. Now Together members are fighting to protect paid parental leave and remind the Xenophon team of their promise not to touch the scheme before the election.
Your Protection at Work campaign: Members engage with politicians
On Thursday night, a delegation of Together members met with Queensland MPs. Members asked MPs directly to address the need for strengthened employment security for public sector workers.
This was on the back of the campaign work of so many Together members to ensure that Queensland MPs act on the growing culture of long term temporary, higher duties and contract work in the public sector.
Already, 829 members have made submissions to the parliamentary committee charged with analysing potential changes to the IR Act, 559 members participated in the online rally which reached over 570,000 people and almost 500 members have signed the petition to ask the government to act now.
Soon the Queensland Parliament will be debating changes to legislation to give long-term temporary, higher duties and contract staff better access to permanency. The work that Together members have done over the past 3 months means a positive outcome for more secure public sector jobs may be just around the corner!
There is still time to join the campaign. Find out more at the Your Protection at Work website.
St Vincent's Collective Action Win!
St Vincent's staff have taken action, and to secure a better proposed agreement. They did this by sticking together.
For the first time ever, Together members voted no on an agreement offer from St Vincent's. Members demonstrated their resolve to secure a better agreement that addressed classification and wage parity issues through wearing stickers in their workplaces.
This show of collective strength and commitment brought management back to the table, and members now have a serious proposal that reflects that their hard work caring for clients is respected and valued. Members have won:
- A higher wage offer
- Improved progression
- Better role classifications that are more accurately reflective of the work members do
- A single agreement: all St Vincent's Allied Health Staff are now on the one collective agreement, which resolves pay and conditions disparity.
This fantastic outcome is testament that when members organise and stick together, they can achieve much better outcomes. Congratulations to all St Vincent's members on their excellent win!
Announcement of proposed merger of Tabcorp and TattsBet has members concerned
On Wednesday 19 October Tabcorp and Tatts bet announced a proposed merger to the Australian Stock Exchange, staff and unions. Subsequent meetings with management have revealed very little detail regarding the proposed merger beyond an expected timeframe stretching into mid to late-2017 for completion.
There is no guarantee the merger will go ahead as it is still required to meet regulatory and legal hurdles, including consideration by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission the required regulatory approvals to go ahead. In the meantime, Tattsgroup has committed to ongoing consultation regarding the proposed merger via monthly meetings.
Talks with Child Safety continue over workload management
Last Friday 4 November, Child Safety delegates had a workshop with the department to look at workload issues, especially in relation to the commitment to review the Workload Management Guide for Child Safety Service Centres. The day before, delegates worked hard to look at what had changed in the department since the Guide was first created, in 2011, and as any Child Safety member will appreciate, it was a significant list. Your work has become more complex, more intense, and frequently there is just more of it. Delegates made some great progress in looking at priorities to reduce workload duress on all Child Safety staff.
Union members have been working hard on many angles to make sure workers in CSSCs are listened to, and to highlight that current workloads are unsustainable and don’t allow Child Safety staff to work with families as much as they need, or want, to. While the Child & Family Reforms have made a recommendation for ensuring that caseloads are reduced, and recently-announced positions will assist in this matter, there are many layers to the workload issues in the department – and that includes all staff in CSSCs and other Child Safety positions across the state. As the frontline of Child Safety, it’s crucial that our members are listened to, and their concerns and practical solutions addressed.
While there is a lot more work to do, delegates are cautiously optimistic about our talks with the department so far. The recent announcement of extra Child Safety positions - after delegates met directly with the Minister - indicates that talks are headed in the right direction, but we need to ensure the long-term sustainability of workloads. Workloads that are safe and effective for staff and families alike is a key priority for the department. Congratulations to all Child Safety members on this first important win. Delegates and your Together Communities Team will continue to speak to members about what our next steps are. Members should keep an eye out for some further information regarding a week for Child Safety very soon. As always, if you have any questions about Child Safety, please email email@example.com
General Meeting of Together Members
A General Meeting of the Queensland Together Branch of the Australian Services Union will be held at Mezzanine Level, The Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, corner Merivale and Glenleg Street South Brisbane on Monday 28 November 2016 at 5.15pm to consider the Together Branch of the Australian Services Union Audited Financial Statements for 2015/16 at this link. The Together Branch of the Australian Services Union Audited Financial Statements for 2014/15 are also available here.