Your EB Negotiating team, elected delegates from across the state, sat down with QAS and the Government again this week to try to negotiate the new EB, which will replace the current determination (which expires on September 30th). What is clear from these meetings is the need for us to continue to fight the Government’s attacks on our conditions, and our right to be treated as professional officers.
QAS have given us their proposed agreement, which reflects the Government’s original offer, and which will:
• Remove meal overtime penalties
• Reduce the Roster Projection period to just 3 weeks
• Remove all consultative, management, restrictive, and employee refusal provisions
• Introduce an aggregate rate of pay
The only increase in benefits proposed by QAS are the ability to cash out Long Service Leave, and the 2.2% wage increase.
Our bargaining reps have repeatedly asked QAS to provide a document tracking all provisions that have been removed or changed – this was finally provided this week.
To this point, discussions with QAS have had very little traction – the focus has primarily been on the aggregate rate.
In the last EB round you might remember that we asked for a “consolidated” base rate of pay, which would take into account penalties – and which would be the basis for calculating leave entitlements and super payments. QAS opposed it then, but are now pushing for the “aggregate” rate, which rather than being an increase in the base amount, would add a loading on top – which would not be paid on leave, or used in super calculations – similar to the AWP arrangement.
QAS are keen to cut costs by simplifying payroll – they propose to reduce the existing payroll grades from over 500 to as few as possible (5 is the number we understand is being considered). QAS say they don’t have a set idea on this claim, and are seeking to continue discussions around it, and the business rules that might apply to its implementation.
Removal of Meal Overtime Penalties
We have argued strongly against QAS’s proposal to completely remove meal overtime penalties. QAS are arguing that the cost of these penalties is continuing to escalate, and acknowledge that many factors contribute to missed meals, including ramping.
It is QAS’s position that the management of the provision of adequate meal breaks to its staff is unachievable – so instead of dealing with the problem, they instead seek to remove the penalties. Our negotiators have argued that QAS should better manage its business rather than penalise staff. If the meal breaks were properly managed QAS would not need to pay the meal overtime penalty at all. Our reps offered to work with QAS on solutions – but refused the government’s proposal to take away meal overtime penalties.
QAS want to reduce the current 13 week projection down to 3 – so that they can better manage their operations, at the cost of us being able to manage our home lives and responsibilities.
Removal of consultative, management restrictive or employee refusal provisions
QAS have adopted the Government’s position that these provisions restrict the capacity of Government to “manage their business”. QAS see no reason why any of these provisions should be in an agreement!
2.2% Pay Increase
QAS say they have no authority to move on the 2.2% offer they have already made. The 2.2% is made even more insulting when you consider the amount that they propose we give up in their current proposals.
At our last meeting (on the 26th September) the Government and QAS asked us to explain our log of claims, item by item – but again said that they have no authority to increase their offer. We asked QAS if there was any other information they had that might impact on the negotiation to enable us to bargain in good faith, rather than wasting time talking about issues we have already covered.
We will meet again with the Government in two weeks’ time, and in the meantime, it is important that we continue to build community support – don’t forget to get your friends and family to sign up to the standingwithus.com website, and keep in contact with your delegate about upcoming actions.