This afternoon Commissioner Black has referred the ongoing process of negotiating your wages and conditions to arbitration.
Together delegates Rineke DeRegt, Perry Mitchell, Paul Goulevitch and Sharon Abbott represented you all today and I want to thank them, and all our delegates for their perseverance and hard work.
I made submissions today pointing out the failure of the Department to provide any offers this year and that is sadly why 99% of members voted that our position today be to go to arbitration. It is what none of us were hoping for or expected when we started this process 9 months ago.
As union members you stand up for your rights to fairness, pay parity, recognition of your roles, secure jobs and a safer workplace every day. You are all the contributors who make things happen.
As you know on 6 December this year the government put forward their last offer and 56.51% of Together members voted to reject it. It still didn’t address all of your key concerns and there was still no improvement in wages for workers at the lowest pay levels.
We did see last year a breakthrough on pay parity for therapists, translation to TO stream for laboratory technicians and improved on-call and safety procedures in the Office of Industrial Relations. We don’t want to see these matters lost in the next steps so we will once again press the department to make these items agreed matters in an arbitration
What does this mean for you?
The immediate effect of this referral is that any members currently taking protected industrial action must now stop. We cannot take protected action while we are in arbitration.
If you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact the union office.
The process of arbitration takes time. It is not a quick fix, but members have clearly said what the government has offered is not good enough. So the good part of arbitration is that your claims are still alive but there will not be a quick breakthrough. Right now, we have to hope that the Commission will make a good decision! We know we have the evidence.
Your Together delegates will be meeting next week to work through the process and issues and start preparing the evidence for the arbitration.
I will send more information as we receive it regarding the interim processes and the time frames for the arbitration.
I know that this is not where we expected to be when you and your fellow members began over 9 months ago. However, we are now in the hands of the independent umpire.
Congratulations on standing strong for a fair deal. The work you do every day matters to hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders.