Ballot on your wages and conditions - what does this mean for Youth Justice.

Today marks an important next step to finalise your new pay and conditions in the new EB Agreement which covers Youth Justice workers. The Agreement captures the outcome of long and hard fought negotiations for your pay and conditions. We’re writing to ensure that you know what this means for you as a worker in Youth Justice covered by the new Agreement.

Firstly, Together members have already voted in favour of this deal in February of this year, and voted strongly in support of the offer with a yes vote of over 85%. We note that since the vote of union members, Together has also settled your wages outcome which further improves the offer.  

Your new wage increases and conditions have also been drafted into draft Agreement document which will be balloted by all staff from today. The ballot of all staff is a formal requirement before the document can be certified and your new pay and conditions applied. 

We acknowledge that some of our Youth Justice members were disappointed that the government didn’t offer more, particularly for reclassification for more YJ roles. Overall this outcome is a step in the right direction, especially in relation to the significant wage increase that Together members negotiated.  

Our members have fought long and hard though a prolonged EB campaign, multiple rounds of negotiations and two rounds of arbitration preparation which were called off at the last minute and forced a better offer. Without the strength of Together union members this would not be possible. But there is more to be done.

What does the draft Agreement means for our Youth Justice members? 

Wages

In this settlement that was negotiated and supported by Together members, wages was still awaiting arbitration in the Industrial Commission, however at last minute the Government came to Together made a wages offer which matched the position that Together had put forward to settle the outstanding wages dispute.  This wages outcome will apply across those areas formerly in the Core EB, including Youth Justice and Child Safety.

The government had effectively been offering a 0% wage increase for workers who had been previously covered by the Core Agreement.  This is because the Newman government had let wage increases decline over time to below the minimum safety net wages contained in your Award.  Together has consistently fought and won increases to the Award wages each year and deliver you a pay increase in September.  This continued to push the minimum safety net wages above your EB wage rates and you ended up receiving the higher of the two rates.  That meant that the previous offers by the government which were below the safety net wouldn’t have delivered any actual wage increase for most workers in Youth Justice. 

Your new wage increases that Together members negotiated turn this unfair situation around.  We won increases to your real wages of 7.5% over the next 18 months.   

To do this,  your new EB wage rates will be caught up to your Award wage rates, and then you will receive three increases to your wages of 2.5% as follows:

  • 1 September 2021 – 2.5%
  • 1 March 2022 – 2.5%
  • 1 September 2022 – 2.5%

These new wage rates will go a long way towards bridging the gap with your colleagues in other departments such as Queensland Health and Transport and Main Roads.

None of this would have been possible without the patience and determination of Together members holding on through these prolonged campaign and negotiations.

Reclassification 

The new agreement contains a review of the salary level of AO4 Convenor roles in Youth Justice.  Together Youth Justice Convenors demonstrated that they had a strong case for reclassification through the evidence those members presented to the Department during arbitration.  This review will occur in consultation with Together members and will commence very soon after the certification of the new Agreement.  

Other groups of our members in Youth Justice are also in roles which we believe are undervalued, for the types of work that you do and in comparison to similar roles in Child Safety or in other departments.  Together put the case for reclassification of your roles through the negotiations and arbitration processes.  Reclassification was unfortnuately not achieved as an outcome in the EB for all roles in Youth Justice, however we don’t have to wait 2 years until the next EB campaign to start to deal with the issues again.  Your organisers and delegates have already started discussions about how we can support members to seek reclassification outside the EB process. 

PO Progression

Together members secured a review of the current PO progression scheme within the Department to streamline the process.  PO Progression hasn’t been working as it should for those eligible employees and we will be seeking to address the issues with the scheme through this review.

Other commitments

Together members secured commitments to a range of other matters that apply to Youth Justice including the following:

  • Creating a Transfer policy;
  • Reviewing the following policies: Recruitment & Selection, Hours of Work & Flexible Working Arrangements;
  • Delivering personal safety training for all employees;
  • New professional development funding for frontline positions;
  • Student supervision allowance for eligible departmental employees; and,
  • No loss of conditions.

Voting prior to certification 

We encourage all members to have their say in the ballot.  Voting in the ballot is the next step for formalising the outcomes that Together members have secured above.  The EB can then be certified in the Industrial Commission following a successful ballot. 

Together understands that for Youth Justice members the most significant outcome has been your win on wages, which will lift you above the Award safety net wage rates.  

The ballot that Together members voted in during February to accept this offer was very well supported.  But we also know that some members didn’t support the outcome. We hope that the improvements to wages that you have won since that time will help to make a difference for all members.

None of these arrangements would have occurred if it was not for the active involvement of Together members in Youth Justice and Child Safety in this prolonged industrial campaign. You rejecting previous offers by government that fell short of what you should have received. Congratulations on holding out for real improvements to wages and conditions!

1800 177 244
members@together.org.au