Corrections Collective Agreement Update

Posted on March 29, 2016

At the end of this week our current Collective Agreement reaches its "nominal expiry date". That means that while it continues to apply it is able to be replaced by a new agreement. As the delegates elected to the negotiating team, we have been meeting with QCS for the last two months seeking to negotiate a new agreement.

As you will have seen from the other emails that have been sent out, negotiations so far have been a lot more positive than they were three years ago under the LNP government but we are getting down to those items on our Log that cost big money. Late last week we received a summary from QCS setting out where the negotiations are at; you can see that summary here.

The areas where we have seen movement from QCS include:

  • restoration of administrative top up to Workcover payments where members are injured through assaults by prisoners
  • increases to meal allowances and compensation for missed meal breaks when on escort
  • protections for the Consolidated Shift Allowance to ensure massive changes to shift patterns (like we saw when the LNP tried to introduce 11 hour shifts) can't happen without the Consolidated Shift Allowance being renegotiated
  • improved transfer provisions to allow members to transfer to other centres
  • improved ability to accrue up to 24 months allocation of leave before leave must be taken to allow staff to plan longer holidays

Classification structure

The big ticket item on the EB shopping list is the classification structure. The current custodial structure with Cert IV and the Diploma acting as "pay point barriers" has been a very long running issue for officers and has been the subject of very intense discussions for at least the last four Enterprise Bargaining Agreements.

This EBA is the closest we have ever been to getting a positive change - that is to say removing the qualifications from the pay scale and attaching them to positions (Supervisor/Manager) allowing officers to progress unimpeded to pay point CO 1.9.

However (and there is always a however) as you can imagine this win would come at significant cost to the government. The government pay offer is 2.5% a year each year over the life of the agreement (three years). At this point, the Department's position is that they have instructions from Treasury that any changes to the classification structure will need to come out of that wages offer. This is a fundamental issue, we will continue to argue for the government finding other ways to offset the cost but it is clear that we will need to take action to get the best outcome we can.

Protected Action

In order to take action, we will still need to take a "protected action ballot". The ballot needs to get up in each correctional centre before that centre can go on strike in pursuit of our log of claims. Please have the discussion with workmates about how critical it is that your contact details with the union are up to date and exactly the same as what your employer has, if in doubt get folks to ring 1800 177 244 to check on their details with the union or update your details here.

Our strength comes from our members

We need to start talking with people about joining the union in support of the EB. Talk about it on the way to work, at your morning brief, at lunch, at the evening debrief and again the next day. Membership is more effective the more members we have and this is especially true around EB time. Emails are all fine and well but a face to face discussion from experienced officers carries a lot of weight with new staff, so please have these discussion as often as possible. Nothing silly, certainly no coercion but an open and frank discussion will go a long way.

For the newer staff (say the last two years), membership is measurably poorer than the centre average and these are the staff that will benefit the most from changes to the classification structure. Please take the time to chat to the new people. They can join here.

Yours in union,

The Negotiating Team: John Stack (Lotus Glen), Adrian Burke (TCC), Mark Weber (CCC), Jason Hunt (Woodford), Peter Clarke (Wolston), Shannon Richards  (Borallon), Darryl McNamara (BCC) and Scott Mawhinney (ESB)

1800 177 244