3 October 2012 | No. 27-12
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New government offer to go to member ballot

The QTU and the State Government have reached in-principle agreement over a revised EB7 offer that will now go to members for ballot.

The 24-hour stoppage set down for 16 October and the package of
work bans will now not proceed to allow this ballot to occur.

Executive and the senior officers of the QTU recommend that members accept the offer.

The QTU Executive, at a special meeting on Tuesday 2 October, resolved to ballot members on the offer, which would deliver 2.7 per cent per annum pay increases over each year of a three-year agreement. The agreement was made following negotiations over many months, recently with the assistance of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC). The final intense negotiations occurred over the past few days in order to preserve the earliest possible date of the first increase on 1 September.

Key elements of the offer

  • 2.7 per cent per annum pay increase for all classifications backdated to 1 September 2012.
  • The Government has agreed to retain teaching and learning conditions in enforceable industrial instruments. For example, class size targets and school-based management guarantees, including the teacher transfer and relocation systems and remote area incentives, will remain protected by the certified agreement. Clauses that have been removed from the agreement, such as parental leave, remain protected in the award which underpins the agreement. Issues such as conversion to permanency and Independent Public Schools will be covered by memoranda of agreement (MOAs) negotiated between the QTU and the Department of Education, Training and Employment.
  • The freeze on beginning teachers’ salaries has been removed.

The only condition which has been lost involves job security for employees and this was removed by the Government through a change to the legislation that affects the entire public service.

The alternative

Although the salary increase falls short of what it should be, the QTU has accepted the reality of the political and industrial situation.

The QTU has also been told that the Government would oppose any interim increase if the dispute went to arbitration. Previous cases indicate that without the support of the employer it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to secure an interim increase.

It is clear that if the case went to arbitration, it would not be before a full bench of the QIRC until possibly July or August next year. Given the likelihood of a protracted arbitration, a final decision would not be reached until well into 2014 with no chance of retrospectivity. There is no guarantee we would maintain teaching conditions in an arbitrated settlement, and so would be likely to lose some conditions from the current certified agreement.

Ballot information

The QTU will conduct a ballot of Union members so they can decide whether to accept the new offer (unlike the ballot for industrial action, which had to be conducted by the Electoral Commission of Queensland). Ballot information will be forwarded to all workplaces next week.

As the employer, the Department of Education, Training and Employment will conduct its own ballot of all employees covered by the agreement.

Member achievement

This is a very hard-fought-for agreement, achieved by the participation of members in rallies around the state and their strong support in industrial action ballots. The small number of nominations for IPS is also a significant factor in securing an MOA on that issue. Your participation has been essential to securing this new offer.

More details

More information on the offer is available at the QTU website and from your local organiser.

Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union, 21 Graham St, Milton Q 4064.