3 August 2016 | No. 21-16 | Download PDF

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Improved government offer to Queensland teachers and principals 

$101,000 for Experienced Senior Teachers

On Tuesday 2 August, the Queensland Government approved a new offer to Queensland state school teachers and principals.  A ballot of QTU members will be conducted to consider the new offer.

Negotiations have continued with the department and the government while the QTU and Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) ballots for protected industrial action were occurring. The new offer is a substantial improvement on the offer recently overwhelmingly rejected by QTU members.  It required and has the approval of the Cabinet Budget Review Committee of the Queensland Government.  The QTU Executive has closely monitored the negotiations, has endorsed an agreement based on the new offer and recommends that members endorse the new offer in a ballot.

Compared to the offer rejected by members in the recent industrial action ballot, the new offer now includes:

  • An Experienced Senior Teacher (EST) salary of $101,000 p.a. from 1 July 2018.
  • A beginning teacher salary of $66,022 from 1 July 2016.
  • A review of the classification structure of promotional positions, taking into account school complexity, needs-based funding and the creation of highly accomplished and lead teacher classifications, to be completed no later than 31 December 2018.
  • Enhanced commitments to permanency in line with government job security policy, including new arrangements for permanency for school-purchased positions such as Investing for Success positions. 
  • Access to EST after 12 years of teaching (for four-year trained teachers) from 2017 and 11 years from 2018, compared with the current 13 years.
  • A review of the processes to access EST and senior teacher.
  • Salaries equal to or greater than salaries recently established for Queensland Catholic teachers no later than 1 July 2018.
  • A new salary scale that ultimately provides access to EST after 10 years’ teaching.

The new offer secures a starting date of 1 July 2016 for a three-year agreement finishing on 30 June 2019*.  The 1 July start date is significant for defined benefit superannuants, particularly those contemplating retirement.  Securing this date is a major achievement and redresses a Newman government outrage.  The base or headline wage increase before changes to the classification structure remains at 2.5 per cent p.a., consistent with government wages policy (which compares to an inflation rate of 1.5 per cent in Brisbane for the past 12 months).

In addition, the following issues that were already “agreed-in-principle” in negotiations will be included in the agreement.

  • Creation of highly accomplished and lead teacher classifications through a pilot in 2017, a memorandum of agreement by 31 December 2017, and a work-value assessment in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission to establish salary levels by 30 June 2018.
  • Restoration of the commitment that classes would exceed size targets only in exceptional circumstances and after consultation.
  • Clarification of class sizes for composite classes.
  • Clarification of the purpose and use of teacher non-contact time.
  • Provisions for replacement of non-contact time lost due to planned school activities.
  • Inclusion of enhanced curriculum coordination time within the agreement.
  • Inclusion of administrative time provisions for teaching principals, and heads of department, curriculum and special education services in the agreement.
  • Additional executive principal positions where enrolments do not exceed 1,600 students.
  • Improved broad-banding arrangement for principals and HOSES.
  • Conversion of Band 7 HOSES to Band 7 deputy principal positions.
  • Improved professional development arrangements for temporary teachers, including required attendance at and payment for student-free days.
  • Improved processes for addressing cases of temporary engagement instead of permanency.
  • Structured mentoring support for beginning teachers in their first 12 months.
  • New paid internship arrangements.
  • A trial of initiatives from the review of the Remote Area Incentive Scheme (RAIS) in identified centres in 2017, with a review of the initiatives by July 2018 for extension to other centres as agreed.
  • Strengthened transfer and relocation processes, which will include Independent Public Schools.
  • Establishment of the local consultative committee (LCC) as the key body for managing workload issues at a local level.
  • Inclusion of flexible student-free days, staff meetings and QTU/DET Joint Statements as matters for consultation at the LCC.
  • Establishment of a joint resolution committee for stage 3 grievances.
  • A definition of consultation that involves genuine participation in decision-making, not just the provision of information.

You decide

As usual, members will decide the acceptability of this government offer.  Again, this will involve two ballots.

The QTU will conduct a school-based ballot similar to that which has just been conducted for industrial action.  The QTU will distribute explanatory material and make detailed information available on the QTU website.  A video will be provided to inform members, and, where requested and feasible, area or centre meetings will be conducted for information purposes.  The timelines will be set out in a future Newsflash.

The QTU ballot is open to all financial members of the QTU.  This ballot will determine whether the QTU signs the proposed agreement on behalf of members.  

The department, as the employer, is also required to consult with and conduct a ballot of all employees on the proposed agreement.  This is necessary in accordance with Queensland law for the agreement to be certified (i.e. put into effect) by the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.

The QTU has suggested that the two ballots should run side-by-side.  The conduct of the ballot by the department is, however, a matter for it.

Industrial action suspended

The QTU ballot decisions to take strike action and implement work bans remain in force as far as the QTU is concerned, but the timing changes.  The action will be rescheduled if members decide in the QTU ballot that the new offer from the government is not acceptable.

Under Queensland legislation, the results of the protected action ballot being run by the Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) remain valid for industrial action that starts within 30 days of the ballot being declared.  That ballot only closes on 8 August and will be declared after completion of counting which will require several days.

If the new government offer is rejected, industrial action (strike and work bans) will be re-scheduled within the 30 days as protected action – assuming the protected action ballot is carried.  This will mean that the 1 July starting date would be lost, and the dispute would probably be determined in arbitration in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.  Any salary increase in that circumstance would probably not occur before 2017.

Further updates will be provided as quickly as possible.  Any questions can be forwarded to qtu@qtu.asn.au marked “EB8 question” – the Union will publish responses to frequently asked questions.

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

* Please note, the email version of this newsflash had an incorrect finish date of 1 July, 2019.