Together News: February 2017
The work year is well and truly underway! Here is Together News for February 2017. With no relief from these summer heat waves, we’ve got a story on keeping cool at work this month. This story and more news from across our union below, so read on!
It’s getting hot out here so stay safe at work!
Staying cool at work isn’t always easy – particularly when it’s so hot outside. If you are working outside this summer staying cool isn’t just for comfort, it’s about safety.
You have a right to a safe working environment and that extends to the impacts of heat stress. The WorkSafe website has some important information about how to deal with heat stress here.
Your local Workplace Health and Safety Officer can help with risk management during periods of increased warm weather especially if your work involves lengthy periods of time outside. For advice and assistance about your safety at work, you can always call the union office on 1800 177 244.
Next steps for Health members
The hard work of Together Health members in 2016 secured an offer from the government that ensured full back pay, improved job security and a number of other important improvements for all AO, OO, TO, PO, HP and DO members.
Health delegates are now meeting with Queensland Health to draft the new agreement into a formal document. Once this drafting process is completed, Queensland Health will hold an electronic ballot of all employees to formally vote on the agreement. These final negotiations have not been entirely without bumps in the road. Click here to the correspondence the union office sent to Michael Walsh, Director-General, on Friday.
To make the most of the new agreement, it is critical that we are prepared for the reviews and new processes. Here are three things health members can do right now to make the most of this new agreement:
Temporary health workers – complete this survey about temporary employment
At this stage we do not have an estimated date for the delivery of your back pay - the back pay will only be paid by Queensland Health after the ballots are completed. If you have any questions or comments, contact the Health team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
School is back!
2016 was a massive year for Together schools members. Together schools members won additional funding to recognise school support staff, but there is still more work to do to ensure our schools are resourced properly and all members are rewarded appropriately. Now that Term 1 has begun, Together members in schools are already back to campaigning and lobbying decision makers around these issues.
The extra funding will come into play this term meaning that Schools Officers, Business Service Managers and AO2s in small schools will now be able to access reclassifications. For more information on how this impacts you as school members - click here. Remember if you are having difficulties with this process, get in touch with us at email@example.com or 1800 177 244.
We didn’t get everything we needed last year, so in 2017 we will continue to work to make our state schools better. Click here to stay up to date on what’s happening in schools.
Thank you for all you do to keep our schools running! As a strong union group, we can achieve a lot together.
The Annual General Meeting of Together Queensland, Industrial Union of Employees (the State Union) has been rescheduled to 5:30pm on Wednesday 22 February at Level 2, QCU Building, 16 Peel Street South Brisbane. All members are invited to attend.
On a federal level, wage growth is at a 20 year low and inequality is rising because of it. Across the private sector, we’re seeing employers offer Together members low and disrespectful wage offers. These offers are below the rising cost of living and could lock members into a pay cut over the life of their agreements.
Luckily, more and more workplaces are standing up, getting unionised and saying it’s not good enough.
In recent months we have seen members at ACE (Australian Communications Exchange) and QML (Qld Medical Laboratories) acting collectively to stand up for a fair and respectful collective agreement by voting NO. By voting no, they told their bosses that they deserve better and that they should come back to the negotiating table.
Congratulations to all of the members who voted and stood up against unfair wage increases at ACE and QML. This outcome wouldn’t have been possible without you and now we can negotiate a fairer agreement together. The only way we can fight low wage growth and rising inequality is by acting collectively in our workplaces and asking our work mates to join our union.
Universities: Preparing for a big year
Universities are a hive of activity at the moment, with 2017 shaping up to be a busy year.
Bargaining at Griffith, James Cook University (JCU) and Central Queensland University (CQU) is now well underway. After a hard year with budget cuts and numerous change management proposals, Together members are standing up for fair pay, greater job security and strengthening change management provisions.
The collective agreements for QUT and UQ are expiring soon, and members are preparing to begin the bargaining process. It is important that we build union power on campus to ensure you can improve your rights at work so be sure to ask your colleagues to join Together too. QUT members can have their say and help their delegates build their Log of Claims by completing this survey.
Last year, members at Griffith, QUT and UQ last year endorsed the national motion of solidarity with Murdoch University staff after their employer decided to apply to terminate their agreement. The attack on Murdoch University staff represents a real threat to all university staff. Together members are committed to standing with all union members to stop hostile employers attacking workplace conditions at universities.
TAFE: priorities for a changing environment
TAFE members finalised their collective agreements last year but there is still work to do.
A priority for non-teaching staff is entrenching last year’s Protection at Work campaign win about permanency. Do you know of someone who is temporary or who may be employed by an agency at TAFE and is seeking to be made permanent? Encourage them to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For teachers a big focus will be team-based working arrangements; professional development; & reinforcement of professional responsibility (preparation). For more information on the development of these please email email@example.com.