Your classification structure is broken – it’s your choice whether we fix it

Posted on July 6, 2016

You would have received an email today asking you to vote in a plebiscite about the classification structure for your collective agreement.

The plebiscite gives you a choice about what is contained in your next collective agreement: do we keep the current classification structure and take a 2.5% annual payrise across the board or do we fix the classification structure, improve access to increments without the need for qualifications and take a reduced annual increase from levels CO1-1 to CO1-7 to achieve it?

The current classification structure is broken with qualification barriers that stop people progressing.

To progress past CO1-4 requires a Certificate IV in Corrective Services – this is a qualification designed for supervisors, not third year custodial officers.

To progress past CO1-7 requires a Diploma of Correctional Administration. The diploma is for managers and has no place in the level one classification.

Of the current 1800 corrections staff, almost 700 Correctional Officers are stuck at level CO1-4 because they haven’t been able to get a Cert IV and another 300 are stuck at CO1-7 because they haven’t got the Diploma. In fact, over the almost 20 years that this classification structure has been in place, only around 130 current staff members have been able to progress to CO1-9. This plebiscite gives you the chance to change this outdated classification structure.

However, changing the classification structure will have a cost.

OPTION 1 – No change to the Classification structure

A vote for Option 1 will mean no changes to the classification structure but you will receive a 2.5% annual pay increase over the life of the collective agreement.

OPTION 2 – Change the Classification structure

A vote for Option 2 will change the structure as follows:

CO1-1 to CO1-7

Officers will be able to progress to CO1-7 with the Certificate III in Correctional Practice and then to CO1-9 with a Certificate IV in Correctional Practice. The annual pay increases will be reduced to 0.5%, 0.5% and 0% over the three years of the agreement for CO1-1 to CO1-7 in return for opening up access to increments that previously were almost impossible to achieve. Due to the changes in the structure, CCOs will see their take home pay increase by a minimum of 2.5% each through increments, pay increases or a combination of both. No one will see a less than a 2.5% increase in pay each year over the life of the agreement.

CO1-8, CO1-9 and Supervisors

CO1-8 and above will receive 2.5% per year over the three years. In addition, supervisors who obtain the Diploma of Correctional Administration will progress from CO2-4 to CO3-1 and then annually through to CO3-4. This will fix the situation where a Supervisor has to accept extra responsibility but may be paid the same, or even less than those they are supervising.

Trade Instructors and Farm Officers

Finally, TIs and Farm Officers will have the qualification barriers at CO2-1 and CO2-2 lifted. That is, they can progress to CO2-2 with a trade qualification or equivalent experience to AQF-4 level (Cert IV) and then to CO2-4 with a relevant post-trade Diploma.

It is vital every member understands what the choice is. We have been trying to fix this structure for over 15 years and have never been able to because of the cost, this is the closest we've ever got to fixing it and if we don’t do it now the chance may not come again.

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