Education: Wages, Superannuation, Employment Security

Posted on August 15, 2019

We are in the midst of preparations for the arbitration of your wages and conditions under the Department of Education agreement. This is our big case about your pay rise and other improvements that we are seeking to progression, classifications, workloads and hours of work.

Your delegates have been going above and beyond responding to all the evidence advanced by the department and putting forward statements in reply.

It's great that the independent umpire, the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission, will hear our case. However we know it's hard to know what's happening in the background.

The hearing dates are in September. They begin on the first week - 2 to 6 September, and then the last week the 24 to 27 of September.

For a quick reminder of our position in the arbitration you can see our documents here.

Great News - Community Education Counsellors

The Department have agreed to our claim and now support ensuring that there is a Regional Community Education Counsellor in every region. The Department has also agreed, and ADG David Hartley has been working on ensuring that the Recognition of Prior Learning Committee to facilitate CECs progressing under the Award will meet this year. If you would like to know more about this please get in touch – education@together.org.au.

QSuper income protection changes

Recently, QSuper made changes to their income protection product. These changes had a significant impact on the super of many public servants. You can read the email we sent to members about this change in June.

At our recent Branch Conference, delegates raised directly with QSuper representatives their concerns that these changes were not communicated properly and were made with insufficient warning. I have written to the QSuper Board to relay these concerns. You can read a copy of that letter here.

School Support Staff Recognition Week

This month we celebrate School Support Staff Recognition Week! It’s the week every year when we ask everyone – Principals, parents, the department, teachers and others – to acknowledge the amazing job our school support staff do. SSSRW is the week beginning the 26 August! Click here for some videos.

Together has posted a 'pack' including posters, stickers and desk stands to every school. If you haven’t received yours, ask the person who collects the mail and if it hasn't turned up please get in touch with us at schools@together.org.au.

Restructures and Reviews – Early Childhood and Community Engagement

Deputy Director-General Sharon Schimming has briefed the union office to let us know that there were changes recommended by the recent KPMG review of ECCE. Consultation is now commencing about how this will look. Please get in touch with your union office on education@together.org.au if you have any concerns or questions or need support during this process. You have a right to have a say. We have been provided with this document by Sharon which outlines a proposed "future organisational model".

What about you?

Are you going through organisational change or restructuring? Remember you can contact your union office for advice and support through this process and that you have a right to have a say and to meaningful consultation under our agreement.

Together applies for 3% Award increase for public servants

Together is advocating for a pay increase for public servants of 3% from 1 September 2019, while we await the outcome of the arbitration processes. Our union is seeking to increase the wage rates of public servants covered by the Public Service Award as part of the State Wage Case through the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.

Together is seeking to flow on the National Wage Adjustment of 3%, which was won by union members in the private sector in the Fair Work Commission earlier this year.

This year all Core public servants have wage rates higher than your expired collective agreement rates, and therefore should benefit from the full 3% increase to the Award if we are successful in the case.

Together made our application to increase for the 3% State Wage case on 3 June.

This year's State Wage case has been delayed compared to previous years due to a shortage of Industrial Relations Commissioners to hear the case.

The government has recently appointed four new Commissioners, which has enabled the case to now proceed to a hearing of the Full Bench of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.

The case will be heard by Vice President O'Connor, along with Commissioner Hartigan and Commissioner Thompson.

The case will be heard by the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission on 9 October.

Together will argue that the 3% should apply from 1 September 2019, in line with previous Award increases, despite the delay in the hearing of the case.

Enough is enough: Action on sham "temporary" employment

Despite the fact that the state government has committed to maximising permanency, individual government agencies continue to roll over large numbers of staff on temporary contracts. The work is often misrepresented as being 'project' work rather than the regular business of government service delivery.

We recently lodged a dispute with the government in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission because basically – enough is enough!

The Department of Education continually employ over 90% of staff as temporary or casual when they are first hired. This is leading to an ever increasing number of temporary workers to be reviewed after two years. Many members have been waiting for well over two years. Remember – if you require assistance in lodging a temporary employment review please contact the union office for support.

Casual or temporary employment contracts are being used by agencies even in situations where permanent employment would obviously be appropriate.

We believe that around 25% of all public service employees are on temporary contracts. In some agencies, like the Department of Justice and Attorney-General, that figure is even higher. The use of external contractors instead of creating the necessary permanent positions is particularly rife for IT services.

Being on long-term temporary employment is hurtful to employees in many ways. It makes it difficult to secure loans and to plan for the future. Even when an employee is entitled under the rules to a review of their temporary status, agencies will often simply ignore the requirement or come up with excuses as to why they cannot be reviewed or made permanent.

Our union has lodged a dispute with the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission to make the government adhere to its obligations to provide paths to permanency for its staff.

We will be continuing to pursue this matter while our arbitration progresses and we will keep you updated with any news. We have also included improvements to the system in our case in the arbitration.

What's next?

We'll have more news as the arbitration and our applications in the Industrial Relations Commission continue.

Remind your colleagues that we are always stronger together - they can join online today. Union membership is 100% tax deductible.

1800 177 244
members@together.org.au