Core: What is happening with your pay now?
On Tuesday we advised members that the State Government Departments Certified Agreement 2019 had been certified by the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.
While this is great news, it is important to note that this Agreement does not contain a pay rise.
The Agreement lists your current salary. For most workers, your currently salary is also the Award rate of pay.
The Agreement also has a provision, (s2.10 (7)), which sets out that there will be a wages determination.
Importantly, the provision references the Annual Wage Review that is to be determined by the Fair Work Commission. This is the first step. The Annual Wage Review decision has been delayed by two weeks due to the COVID-19 crisis. We expect to see that decision some time in July. The provision in the agreement then sets out that the necessary talks with the state government, about what happens next with wages, will start following that.
Together is very committed to seeking a wage rise as per this Agreement.
We know that the global and local economy look very different this year and that makes our arguments set against a very different state budget context. However, we can and must still put the case for wage increases.
Leading economists have already produced significant research that speaks to the need for pay rises in every sector in order to support economic recovery, including this article by Dr Jim Stanford and the Centre for Future Work gives a good summary.
We know that keeping every worker in work, and ensuring that working Queenslanders have a living wage, are important to the Queensland economy. Public sector wages power many small regional towns, as well as our big cities. Government is still the single biggest employer here in Queensland.
What we don't know yet is what the government is planning to do in their legislation, mooted over last weekend, regarding the so called 'pay freeze.'
We don't know if this legislation will seek to override processes to be determined by the independent umpire, the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission, such as those set out in your Agreement.
We hope that this process will be allowed to continue.
We fought for two years to come to an agreement with government and this one is a good one, and the last step is to run this wages arbitration.
We know that the arguments are tough, but Together members have always been up for the tough arguments when important points need to be made, and when livelihoods are at stake.
We will continue to keep members updated about these next steps. Once the outcome of the Annual Wage Review is released by the Fair Work Commission we will know more.