Wages offer from the government to Department of Education
Together members in Education currently have their wages set by their award. This is because their award wage rates are now higher than the wages rates in their expired collective agreement.
The award wage rates have overtaken the expired collective agreement wage rates because Queensland public servants have a strong award system and also because state government wages policy has been lower than the State Wage Case over the last decade.
The state government offer for wages in the current collective bargaining is based increases to the wage rates in the expired collective agreement not the wage rates current being paid to Together members.
This means that AO2 and AO3 members would not receive an increase in their wages in 2018 if the offer is accepted by members.
This also mean that most AO2 members would receive a 1.5% increase in 2019 as the government offer is reduced by the amount your award has ahead of the expired collective agreement. As AO2 members received an increase of greater than 2.5% through their award this year, the increase next year is reduced by the amount above 2.5% received this year.
All members would receive a 2.5% increase in 2020.
The strength of the award system in Queensland is based on the decision of the Bligh ALP government, since reintroduced by the Palaszczuk ALP government, to enact legislation which has allowed the Queensland Industrial Commission to roll up wage rates in expired agreements into the awards. This last occurred for Together members in Education in 2011 when the 2008 wage rates were rolled up into your award.
This has meant the award system in the Queensland public service has remained stronger than the award system in the private sector and the Fair Work jurisdiction.
The rolling up of collective agreement rates into awards was important when the collective agreement wage rates were increasing faster than the award wage rates. The award wage rates are increased each year through the National Wage Adjustment and in the Queensland public sector by the Queensland State Wage case. Over the last decade the State Wage case has increased the award wage rates by more that the Queensland Government state wage policy which has been the basis of collective bargaining outcomes in the Queensland public sector:
This has meant that the difference between the award and the collective agreement has been narrowing each year the State Wage case has been higher than the collective bargaining outcomes.
Together members in Education also had a period under the Newman LNP government where there was no increase in wages. The bargaining process in 2012 and subsequent arbitration process meant that there was no collective bargaining wage increases for Together members in Education in 2012. The Palaszczuk ALP government provided a one-off payment in 2016 in compensation for the failed bargaining process but this did move the wage rates in the collective agreement.
In 2018 the State Wage case decision of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission increased wage rates in your award by 3.5% from 1 September. This resulted in the award wage rates being higher than the wage rates in the collective agreement that expired on 31 August. All members in Education received an increase on 1 September 2018 as a result of the State Wage Case; however, the size of the increase was different for higher classified positions. Some members received a 3.5% increase while some members at higher classified positions received only 1.2% as their wage rates in the expired collective agreement were further ahead of the award than the lower classified positions.
The offer is for a new collective agreement with wage rates calculated on increases of 2.5% on the expired collective agreement wage rates and not the higher award wage rates. This means that where the award remains higher than the new collective agreement members will not receive a wage increase, which is the case for members at the AO2 and AO3 and equivalent levels. Members at the AO8 level will have wage rates in the collective agreement higher than the award but the increase above the award will be only 1.3% at the AO8-4 level.
In 2019 the offer would increase the collective agreement wages by a further 2.5% from 1 September. This would result in wage rates for all Together members in Education higher than the current award wage rates but for lower classified levels the extent to which the collective agreement is higher than the award will be less than 2.5% and as a result the actual increase in members' wages will be 1.5% for most members at the AO2 level.