EB10 claim development: What is enterprise bargaining?
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 126 No 6, 3 September 2021, page no.18-19
During Term 3, the QTU has asked Workplace Representatives in schools to convene meetings so that members could have their say in the development of our EB10 claim.
This has involved discussion of key themes for the claim and remuneration considerations, as well as opportunities for members to communicate what they see as being the priorities for our next agreement.
This marks the start of the enterprise bargaining process. But what exactly is enterprise bargaining and how does the process work?
So what is the purpose of EB and how does it work?
QTU members are a diverse group, all with their own range of issues. Depending on our classification, we undertake different roles, but our core motivation is that we work together to make a difference in the lives of the students who we teach.
Every three years we can negotiate changes to our working conditions and salaries – we also use this opportunity to highlight the value of our profession.
Enterprise bargaining (EB) is the process of negotiating a new agreement setting out the salaries and working conditions of members. The outcome of these negotiations between the Union and the department form the basis of the certified agreement. The certified agreement is an enforceable document (meaning that breaches can be escalated to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission) and it is usually renewed every three years.
To work toward achieving improvements to salaries and conditions, the Union develops an EB claim, or log of claims, in consultation with members. This is the process that is currently underway.
Once the current meetings are complete, your input will be collated and considered for inclusion in a draft log of claims. A survey will then take place to allow members to have their say on its final contents. Once approved by State Council, the final draft claim will then form the substance of negotiations when these commence in 2022.
QTU Executive and the Union's members of the single bargaining unit (the group of Union and department representatives that undertake the formal negotiations) also use the log of claims to assess the progress of negotiations when considering what (if any) action members need to take in support of the claim.
Below is a simple road map of the whole process, from consulation to certification of the new agreement.
The EB9 example
Taking a recent example, during 2018 members identified workload (including additional non-contact time), a new pay structure for classified officers, job security and gender pay equity as key concerns, and so they became key themes of the QTU’s claim.
Consequently, the current certified agreement delivered:
- inclusion of a specific workload management clause in the agreement
- a 2.5 per cent pay rise and a one-off $1,250 payment for classroom teachers
- an additional 30 minutes non-contact time for all primary and special school teachers in 2022
- an additional 60 minutes of non-contact time for beginning teachers in primary and special schools and an additional 70 minutes non-contact time for beginning teachers in secondary schools from the commencement of the 2021 school year
- the removal of the requirement to work the equivalent of FTE hours to access salary scale increments for part-time employees
- new 10 level salary structure for principals, with top level 10 principals earning $211,398 p.a.
- primary deputy principals and heads of curriculum remunerated equivalent to secondary DPs and HoDs
- the creation of EST 2 with a salary of $110,500 p.a.
- improved job security with permanency: a reduction from three years to two years of continuous temporary service before being invited to convert to permanency.
All of these initiatives formed part of enterprise bargaining negotiations and were accepted by members as the outcomes of the negotiations. They are now contained in the certified agreement.
Enterprise bargaining (EB): the process through which a new agreement setting out the salaries and working conditions of members is negotiated.
Log of claims: the document that sets out the new conditions that members wish to achieve through the negotiations
Certified agreement: the legally binding document that enforces the agreed conditions secured through the negotiations.
Single bargaining unit (SBU): the group of representatives appointed by the QTU and the department to negotiate the new agreement.
Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC): the independent tribunal that certifies the agreement that emerges from the negotiations, allowing it to be implemented.
Get involved in your EB!
Significant gains can be achieved in enterprise bargaining negotiations. This is why member engagement in the development of the EB claim is vital. Without member input, the key issues affecting members in workplaces may not form part of the negotiations and the issues may not be addressed. You can attend your branch meeting to get updates on the creation of the draft log of claims and provide feedback to your State Council representative, as the claim will be discussed and voted on at State Council in November.