Update from the statewide health report back today.
Today I spoke with Together members at meetings across 55 locations in Queensland Health, to report on significant progress that members have achieved in the lead up to the planned day of action and stop work actions scheduled for today.
Over the last 48 hours there has been significant movement from the government in negotiations. This is a direct result of the action that you as Together members committed to take today.
For both EB10 and HPDOCA negotiations, your bargaining teams have been pushing hard on all issues from your log of claims – issues which include employment security, workloads and individual classifications for different occupational groups. While we have been having wins inside the negotiations, it was the outstanding wages equity issue that had led Together members to prepare for today’s Day of Action.
Queensland Health repeatedly advised our bargaining teams in both sets of negotiations that they would only offer our members less than what was offered to other groups of government workers in terms of wages. School Teachers, TAFE Teachers and Rural Fire employees were all offered an additional $1250 sign-on bonus on top of the 2.5% wage increase. It was unfair to offer our HPDOCA and EB10 members only 2.5%.
Members across both agreements decided to stand up and take action to ensure that you don’t receive less than other workers. A Day of Action decided on by your steering committee delegates was coordinated to occur for our Health members simultaneously with Together members in the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
After notifiying Queensland Health of our EB10 members strike action, a first offer was provided for our EB10 members on Friday 6 September, just days out from the state-wide day of action. It is clear that your threat of action had pushed the employer to deliver an offer early. We are still discussing with Queensland Health what the offer means, but have summarised what we know in this offer fact sheet.
Meeting with Minister Miles
Late yesterday, Minister Miles met with Together delegates alongside Kate Flanders and I to say that he is personally intervening and asking that we suspend the union action scheduled for tomorrow.
The Minister asked to be able to discuss with the Premier and Deputy Premier, the financial offer that has been made by other agencies in recent public sector agreements and whether a similar offer can be made by Queensland Health in negotiations for EB10.
Given the Premier is overseas travelling and the Acting Premier needs to focus on the current bushfire emergency, he asked members to consider lifting the planned industrial action for one week to allow time for those discussions to occur.
Your union delegate steering committee has considered this and on the basis of the Minister’s support to put forward improved outcomes, they have recommended that we do not proceed with stop work action tomorrow.
Following this meeting yesterday Together delegates took the decision not to proceed with strike action and give 7 clear days to respond to the wages issue. We continued with our report back meetings today instead of strike action to talk about next steps.
In the next seven days, we should be in the position to know whether your recent actions, including building up to the threatened strike action today, has resulted in a significant improvement in the wages offer that is on the table.
While we wait to hear back from Minister on wages, we will continue to be in negotiations with Queensland Health about all items that are in our members’ log of claims across both Agreements. Together EB10 bargaining team made significant progress yesterday in protecting existing entitlements which were under threat by cuts to the agreement. We know that what happens at the table is only successful when accompanied by a strong campaign by union members in all workplaces.
We have until 30 September to find suitable outcomes in EB9/10 areas – and then HPDOCA workers will receive specific news later in October.
Across both negotiations we will be heightening our focus on our members’ other key issues and building again towards member action. We will then be in a good position to win decent outcomes and improvements in terms of wages, dealing with employment security, dealing with workloads, with allowances and classification levels.
In coming weeks we will be going out to workplaces to speak with members about your lived experience regarding key member issues including employment security and workloads to ensure that your lived experience can be taken back to the bargaining table and dealt with.
Everything that you have achieved in the last 48 hours has been as a direct result of members preparing to participate in industrial action. Congratulations for everything you have done in the last 48 hours. By continuing to get involved and staying committed to industrial action, you can ensure that the collective strength of your union delivers a better working life for you and your colleagues.
We are stronger together.