21 Aug 2015 | No. 13-15 | Download as PDF 

To : QTU Members

Extension of current agreement granted

On Monday 20 April 2015, QTU Executive considered a proposition to seek an interim pay increase from the government and the continuation of the current certified agreement for a period of 10 months. Today the government gazetted a regulation approving a 2.08 per cent increase paid from 1 September. The current agreement now expires on 30 June 2016.

The 10 month extension means that, if negotiations are successful, the next agreement would have a commencement date of 1 July 2016, which would be significant for members in the QSuper defined benefit fund.

Additionally, extending the current agreement will enable the legislation to be amended before negotiations commence for a replacement agreement. This means that protections in the current award and agreement can be maintained while the legislation is reviewed and before EB negotiations begin.

Why a 2.08 per cent increase?

Under industrial relations legislation, the government can make an administrative increase when a certified agreement is extended. This is generally determined by government wages policy. The state government released its government wages policy on Friday 3 July, announcing headline increases of 2.5 per cent per annum. The 2.08 per cent represents the equivalent of a 10 month increase, derived on a pro-rata basis from the 2.5 per cent. The administrative pay increase will therefore comply with the government wages policy.

Why not negotiate a new agreement?

The extension of the agreement is at the request of the QTU. Since its election earlier this year, the new government has taken action to remedy some of the changes to the Industrial Relations Act made by the former LNP government, with initial changes made in June this year. While these removed the notion of non-allowable matters and reintroduced union encouragement provisions, the requirement to have a modern award prior to the commencement of negotiations for a new agreement remains part of the legislation. The Treasurer made the new award modernisation request of the Commission on Friday 17 July, and therefore it is not possible for the QTU to have an updated award in place before the current agreement expires and negotiations are due to commence.

In consideration of this, QTU Executive made the request to extend the agreement on 20 April. This decision was endorsed by QTU State Council in May and QTU State Conference in June. Members were advised that the request had been made in Members’ Newsflash 06-15 on 22 April.

This is an administrative increase, and the amount is determined by regulation. It is not an “offer” of an increase, nor is it a negotiated outcome arising from enterprise bargaining. Under the regulation, the current certified agreement will become a “continuing agreement”.

This means that the current conditions remain in place until a new agreement is negotiated. When an offer is made for a new agreement, the QTU will ballot members regarding its acceptability or otherwise. The 2.08 per cent and the extension of the current agreement have been made by the government in response to the QTU request. 

What will this extension mean for my working conditions?

The extension means that those conditions protected by the certified agreement and the award remain protected.

The QTU continues to work with DET on a range of issues, including workload management and the implementation of government initiatives.

When will bargaining begin for the new agreement?

Bargaining cannot commence for the new agreement until the award is modernised. The Treasurer made a new award modernisation request for the Industrial Relations Commission on Friday 17 July. According to the schedule in this request, the Teachers Award State is not due to be modernised until mid-2016. Once the award is updated, bargaining for the new agreement can commence.

More information regarding the extension of the agreement is available on the QTU website and through your local QTU Organiser.  

 Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union