Update on MOCA5 negotiations and next steps

Posted on August 7, 2018

On behalf of Together doctor members we are writing to update you on recent progress regarding MOCA5 negotiations and seek your input regarding next steps. This email covers the following main points regarding the update and next steps:

  • The offer Department of Health (DoH) has put to doctors, including costings errors.
  • Commitments Together won regarding the 1 July backpay subject to in-principle agreement in August
  • Together proposed improvements to the current offer in relation to reallocating the millions of additional dollars in costings errors found by the Together Bargaining Team delegates in the original offer.
  • Member survey regarding next steps.

Director General provided this offer

Please click here to view the letter by the Director General outlining DoH’s offer. The offer was provided to Together on Friday 27 July and was immediately sent to Together MOCA5 Steering Committee delegates for consideration at a Together MOCA 5 Steering Committee meeting on 31 July.

The offer contains 42 points including mainly non-cost items. View the offer and short list of the cost items here. 

We note that while the offer improves many of the key items that Together members have sought throughout bargaining (especially in relation to non-cost items and industrial protections), it does not address all members’ claims and does not provide the degree of improvement sought in relation to cost items such as indexation of allowances. Together will continue to negotiate for improvements to the offer, however expect that a degree of industrial action by union members will be required to significantly shift the offer.

Together won an extension for 1 July backpay.

Together sought and has secured the commitment from government to provide doctors with backpay to 1 July if in-principle agreement is reached before 31 August. Standard government wages policy allows for only backpay to the first of the month that in principle agreement was reached, however this would have unfairly penalised doctors due to delays in DoH’s approval to bargain. As per previous email updates, the Department required approval of their Framework in order to formally bargain with you, and this approval had not been received until mid July, which did not allow adequate time for provide an offer with any chance of agreement by the end of July. 

Together raised this matter with the government and in response secured this vital commitment so that Doctors are not unfairly disadvantaged by this delay. We now have more time to consider and negotiate the offer to the 31 August without loss of any backpay.

Costings errors identified by Together and our request for funding to be reallocated

When we received the initial offer from the Director General, Together requested that costings be provided for consideration so that we can identify how the offer has been put together. DoH provided these costings for discussion at the bargaining meeting on the morning of 31 July.  

During the bargaining meeting, Together delegates identified a significant $3.5M error in the costings – as DoH had overestimated one of the cost items by approximately $3.5M. This error was followed up and confirmed by the Department. The significance of this error is that it frees up funding to redirect to the other cost items for our members, within the overall funding that had been allocated to DoHs offer.

The Together Steering Committee then met to discuss the offer and how to proceed in relation to the costings error we identified.  The focus for our steering committee is to seek to redirect the identified funding to increase and index the SMO PDA entitlements, as well as the RMO Vocational Training Subsidy and RMO PDA (non-vocational).

We wrote to the department to seek these changes to the offer. (read that letter here)

Included in that letter was also a request for the same commitment provided in the latest Nurses and Midwives agreement, providing 2.5% increase “or greater” if government wages policy changes.

Both Unions were invited by DoH to a meeting on last Friday to discuss these items. Together attended and we discussed the response by the department to our letter.

Together gets commitments to reallocate funds from this costings error

Read the DoH response letter here. In light of the costings error and Together’s letter, the Department has agreed to the following:

  • Further increase SMO PDA in the final year by another $500 per SMO. That is:
    • Year 1 $20,500
    • Year 2 $20,500
    • Year 3 $21,000
  • Further increase to RMO Vocational Training Subsidy
  • Further increase to RMO PDA (non-vocational)
  • Agreement to amend offer to match Nurses agreement clauses re wages 2.5% or greater.

There was no agreement by DoH at this stage to index the SMO PDA. We will continue to push for this and understand indexation of this allowance will need consideration from government before it could be included in an offer.

Next steps

Please complete this survey about the next steps in response to the offer.

Your Together MOCA5 bargaining team and representatives have pushed for the entire range of improvements contained in our members’ very detailed log of claims. Not all of these improvements have been secured in the attached offer. This offer doesn’t fix a range of the issues the issues that we have argued (for example, indexation of some allowances).

With that in mind, DoH is not seeking removal or reduction in any conditions and there are significant improvements which we have secured in the offer which do not exist in your current MOCA4 agreement. Other than wages, the cost items on offer represents a very significant new financial spend on doctors allowances which we understand is very comparable in amount to other recent Queensland Health industrial agreements.

Through high level advocacy and negotiation, the offer and backpay claims have been improved to the current level.

We now need to hear from you about what actions you are prepared to take to help shift this offer further. Your Together Bargaining Team will continue to advocate for an even better MOCA5, but our ability to force further changes to the offer will be limited unless you and other doctor members are prepared to take action. 

Your MOCA5 Steering Committee is not making any recommendation to members at this stage regarding the current offer.

To have your say by close of business Monday 13 August, please complete this member survey. Results will be discussed by your Together MOCA5 Steering Committee on 14 August to assist in determining the next steps.

1800 177 244
members@together.org.au