CSYW: Government public service wages announcement

Posted on September 23, 2019

As some members would have seen over the weekend the Government announced a change to their wages policy – saying that now the wages policy is for 2.5% plus a $1250 one-off payment.

Given the comments in the press release that you can see here it is unclear whether this will be applied to you or not as your agreement has been referred to arbitration based on the previous unacceptable offer from government on wages and on other key positions such as workloads.

Media reporting of the release has been varied. Certainly it has not provided certainty to us about what it means for you yet.

What we do know is that this week we will have the final four days of arbitration hearings in the Department of Education case. We will be asking questions of the senior government officials about what this means, how this applies, to whom and when.

We will also seek more information from Directors-General about its potential application in CSYW, Youth Justice and Youth Detention Centres.

It is also critical that the issues of caseloads, fair classifications and retention of staff be addressed. We know that it is more than wages or a one-off payment that you have been fighting for and that you need to see to make real progress.

Without safe caseloads and a stable workforce the system will not improve.

Without caseload management we will not see a better working environment and most importantly we need improvements to support some of the most vulnerable people in our community - the children, young people and families who you support.

Members still have the opportunity to contribute their evidence as a witness statement for the arbitration, but this window is closing soon. Please email csyw@together.org.au ASAP if you are interested in providing your important evidence to support any of our claims.

As you may also be aware, while we are waiting for the outcome of our arbitration we are seeking that a 3% pay rise be applied to you from 1 September this year through the State Wage Case. This is another case that will be heard in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission in October.

We are also pursuing back pay in the arbitration, but as you know that is part of the case to be determined by the Commission and that decision will not come down until 2020. For most members if you had accepted the government offer earlier this year you would have received no pay increase this year at all, so pursuing the case in arbitration has preserved your rights to a better deal and a fair outcome.

It's frustrating waiting, however, it's also important that you know that work continues to happen behind the scenes and your delegates will be meeting again next week to determine additional strategies based on the information we will then have.

Without you as union members standing up and voting to reject an unfair offer and making a stand for safe caseloads and a better system you wouldn’t have this opportunity – you are making the difference and making a stand.

If you want a reminder of what we are fighting for you can see the full determination we are asking for here.

We are not taking a backward step. It's time to see real movement and recognition of your essential work and the need to fix workloads.

PS: In good news, also announced on the weekend were the government responses to the Gender Pay Equity Review and two matters that Together members have lobbied for over many years: that part-time workers should progress through increments based on an annual increment process, regardless of annualised hours; and that parental leave should be available to every worker, not just women. These announcements will be progressed in to industrial instruments ASAP.

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