Together applies for 3% Award increase for public servants

August 15, 2019

Together is advocating for a pay increase for public servants of 3% from 1 September 2019, while we await the outcome of the arbitration processes. Our union is seeking to increase the wage rates of public servants covered by the Public Service Award as part of the State Wage Case through the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.

Together is seeking to flow on the National Wage Adjustment of 3%, which was won by union members in the private sector in the Fair Work Commission earlier this year.

This year all Core public servants have wage rates higher than your expired collective agreement rates, and therefore should benefit from the full 3% increase to the Award if we are successful in the case.

Together made our application to increase for the 3% State Wage case on 3 June.

This year's State Wage case has been delayed compared to previous years due to a shortage of Industrial Relations Commissioners to hear the case.

The government has recently appointed four new Commissioners, which has enabled the case to now proceed to a hearing of the Full Bench of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.

The case will be heard by Vice President O'Connor, along with Commissioner Hartigan and Commissioner Thompson.

The case will be heard by the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission on 9 October.

Together will argue that the 3% should apply from 1 September 2019, in line with previous Award increases, despite the delay in the hearing of the case.

Enough is enough: Action on sham "temporary" employment

Despite the fact that the state government has committed to maximising permanency, individual government agencies continue to roll over large numbers of staff on temporary contracts. The work is often misrepresented as being ‘project’ work rather than the regular business of government service delivery.

Casual or temporary employment contracts are being used by agencies even in situations where permanent employment would obviously be appropriate.

We believe that around 25% of all public service employees are on temporary contracts. In some agencies, like the Department of Justice and Attorney-General, that figure is even higher. The use of external contractors instead of creating the necessary permanent positions is particularly rife for IT services.

Being on long-term temporary employment is hurtful to employees in many ways. It makes it difficult to secure loans and to plan for the future. Even when an employee is entitled under the rules to a review of their temporary status, agencies will often simply ignore the requirement or come up with excuses as to why they cannot be reviewed or made permanent.

Our union has lodged a dispute with the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission to make the government adhere to its obligations to provide paths to permanency for its staff.

We will be continuing to pursue this matter while our arbitration progresses and we will keep you updated with any news.

Arbitration: Equal pay for equal work in the public sector!

The process of arbitrating the matters outstanding from the collective 0bargaining negotiations is continuing in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission. Following six months of conciliation, the Commission has referred the three separate negotiations - relating to the Core public service, Education Queensland and the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women - to arbitration. The matters will be heard by three different full benches of the Industrial Relations Commission on the following schedule:

  • Department of Education: 2nd-6th September (inclusive) and 24th-27th September (inclusive).
  • Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women: 13th – 24th of January 2020
  • Core: the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission are yet to set hearing dates for the Core Arbitration. The submission date for the employer's evidence was Monday and our evidence in reply is due on 26 August.

While the agreements are subject to separate hearings, Together members have endorsed a common claim in relation to a wages schedule which is based on seeking to close the gap between the current public service wages and members employed in Queensland Health. We are pursuing a clear strategy of arguing equal pay for equal work across the sector. Click here to read the position our union has put forward as a draft determination for the Core areas.

QSuper income protection changes

Recently, QSuper made changes to their income protection product. These changes had a significant impact on the super of many public servants. You can read the email we sent to members about this change in June.

At our recent Branch Conference, delegates raised directly with QSuper representatives their concerns that these changes were not communicated properly and were made with insufficient warning. I have written to the QSuper Board to relay these concerns. You can read a copy of that letter here.

Brisbane CBD meetings this week

This week there are meetings of members in the Brisbane CBD to discuss wages, the current arbitrations affecting public service members, and related matters. If you are in one of these locations, please head along to a meeting and make sure you tell your colleagues.

  • 41 George Street
    • Thursday 15 August 12:00pm
    • Level 9, Conference Room 9a
  • 1 William Street
    • Friday 16 August 11:00am –12.00pm
    • Training Room 14.14 Level 14

If you can't make a meeting, or if you have any questions or concerns please don't hesitate to contact the union office.

We'll have more news as the arbitration and our applications in the Industrial Relations Commission continue.

Remind your colleagues that we are always stronger together - they can join online today. Union membership is 100% tax deductible.