IMPORTANT: Your choice in Corrections

Posted on June 25, 2019

We have had 12 negotiation meetings since the end of February and the second since the budget was released.

Today we received an update on the budget and there are two key takeaways from that brief. Firstly, Corrections has got a lot of money in the budget, there is money for a new prison; there is money for new staff and there is money to bring the private prisons over. That is good, but well overdue.

However, it is also absolutely clear, there is no additional money for salary increases above the government's 2.5% wages policy and QCS negotiators have no authority to offer more and there is no indication that will change.

Where to now?

The gap between what the government is offering and what we would accept as a fair deal is enormous. Gaining parity with other states, increasing the Aggregated Shift Allowance and achieving better leave conditions costs almost four times what the government is offering.

The industrial action has been effective to date. It has forced QCS to withdraw their offensive offer, it has allowed us to cost alternative classification structures and it has ensured we have raised community awareness about the important work you do as part of the Respect the Risk campaign.

However, it is becoming increasingly clear that continuing, and escalating, the action over coming months is not going to result in an offer that members can accept. That means continued negotiations and action will continue to cost members money without achieving the outcome we seek through a deal. If that's the case, the sooner we get the matter into arbitration and before the independent umpire the better off we will be.

Arbitration

The timeframes are simple. Ordinarily a party can only apply to have an agreement arbitrated six months after the expiry of the current Agreement and three months after conciliation has started. Since we are already in conciliation, that means the earliest we could apply for arbitration is 1 November 2019. We also know - because we are currently in arbitration in the Core, the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women, and the Department of Education - that the process, once it is referred to arbitration, will take about six months before a hearing, in order to exchange documents, witness statements and submissions. That means we would be looking at a hearing in June next year at the earliest.

However, if both parties agree to arbitrate it can be referred before the six month waiting period. That means if we can force the department to agree to go to arbitration early we can fast track and look to a hearing early next year.

Members need to choose.

We have a clear choice: continue negotiations and continue our industrial action, hoping the government will make a fair offer; or we can try and force the government to agree to go to arbitration early and get before the independent umpire.

That’s why we're going to be balloting members over the next 24 hours to let you decide.

You can vote by clicking on the link at the end of this email. It will take you to a web page that will give you a choice of continuing negotiations or using the planned industrial action this weekend to force the government to agree to arbitration.

If you elect to use the planned industrial action this weekend to force the government to agree to arbitration, we will be recommending that members take 24-hour stop works at all centre over the weekend to force the government to agree to arbitrate.

We will advise members of the outcome of the ballot after it closes at 5:00pm Wednesday 26 June (tomorrow).

Click here to vote in the online poll.

Here are some important links:

1800 177 244
members@together.org.au