EBA discussions are moving forward in QCS

Posted on June 4, 2021

Earlier this year, your elected Conference Delegates endorsed that your union seek to have discussions with the Department in regards to your outstanding EBA. These discussions have commenced and, to date, are without prejudice and looking at what matters each side would want to have included in any settlement. Because of that there is no detailed offers from Government yet to report back, this update is to give members an understanding of the direction of the discussions and give you an opportunity to comment.

As you are aware, we are currently waiting for a decision from the Industrial Court of Queensland on our appeal of 12/12, until that is handed down and the lawful pay entitlements for officers in the CO1-1 to CO1-7 established it is impossible to arbitrate what new pay increases are reasonable.

Up until recently, Corrections was not the only group in arbitration. Workers in the Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs were also in arbitration for all conditions and the pay increase for all public service officers in the “Core” Departments and Education were subject to a Wages Determination arbitration. While Correctional Officers were not the only group caught in arbitration there was no indication from the Government that they would be prepared to discuss a settlement while we waited until 12/12 was handed down.

That changed when the Core Wages Determination and the Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs agreement matters were settled. Once that occurred Corrections was the last group without a finalised agreement and the delays in the 12/12 Decision where threatening to delay arbitration into the next round of bargaining.

That has meant that there now appears to be an appetite on behalf of the Government to try and reach an agreement concurrently with waiting for 12/12 to resolve these matters, based on the successful settlement of other Public Sector enterprise bargaining agreements.

There has been 4 discussions with the department since 27 April, three one hour meetings and one two hour meeting, and key points of discussion have been;

  1. Wages. We have made it very clear that no settlement can occur unless all CCOs are brought up to Award level and then paid additional increases on top of that.
  2. Sick Leave. The High Court Decision in Mondalez clarified once and for all that 10 days sick leave does not mean 10 twelve hour shifts. You can read a summary here. However, the Department seems willing to look at possible increase to sick leave hours, in line with Queensland Ambulance Service of 96 hours – understanding our current log seeks 120 hours.
  3. Shift Allowance. Currently, there are around 2/3rds of Correctional Officers that are on historical rosters that have evening, weekend and public holiday patterns that mean the 28.5% aggregated shift allowance is insufficient compensation by around 3%. We have made it clear that any settlement must ensure CCOs are properly compensated for penalty shifts. The department raised the possibility of reverting back to ‘actuals’ instead of our log to increase shift allowance, this would have some benefits in terms of ensuring that you always get properly compensated, even when RV’d but may have negative impacts in terms of different paychecks each week. The department is reporting back with analysis of a representative number of rosters to see what a reversion to actuals would mean in terms of your take-home pay.
  4. Rank structure. There have also been some very preliminary discussions on improving the classification structure to align with the new ranks. Here is an indicative structure that has tabled to inform the discussion. This structure is not an endorsed union position but has some benefits that could see improvements for groups like ERG, Dog Squad, Trainers etc .

It’s important to remember that we still are in arbitration, if we can’t get an offer acceptable to members we will still revert to arbitration. It’s also important to remember that under the union rules, members determine whether or not to approve or reject collective agreements. There will be no agreement unless a majority of members agree.

These discussions are not set in concrete and we seek any feedback and input to ensure that we maximize member input during these conversations. There is another scheduled meeting with the Department on Friday 11 June and as we have more concrete information we will keep you updated.

Please contact your organiser on corrections@together.org.au if you have any questions.

1800 177 244