Where next for EB10?
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 127 5, 8 July 2022, page no.11
The next enterprise bargaining agreement (EB10) for members in schools was due by the nominal expiry date of its predecessor on 30 June. Single bargaining unit meetings have continued throughout Term 2.
We face choices in the days and weeks ahead, but so does the Queensland Government. There is no justification for Queensland teachers and school leaders being paid less than their interstate colleagues or being subject to a public sector wages policy that fails to accommodate cost-of-living increases.
Also, the department cannot build and maintain a professional teaching workforce at cut-price rates or hope to put in place retention and attraction strategies that begin to solve the teacher shortage via negotiations that have had to take place without an agreed state government bargaining framework.
At May State Council, it was determined that, to be acceptable, any offer from the Department of Education would have to:
- meet the QTU interest of making Queensland school leaders and teachers among the highest paid in the country
- include salaries that accommodate for cost-of-living increases
- include methods to address the teacher shortage
- include methods to attract and retain teachers in rural, remote and regional schools.
So, where to next?
If an offer is received, the QTU will ballot members to determine whether they support it.
Following this ballot, if members support the key outcomes of the negotiations, the endorsed agreement will be written, and the government will ballot members.
In these circumstances, it can take up to three months from agreement to certification. However, it is at the discretion of the Minister to pay salary increases during this period.
The progress of the negotiations informs whether a ballot for industrial action is necessary.
If agreement can be reached prior to the nominal expiry date of the agreement, action may not be needed.
If agreement cannot be reached, however, members will be balloted on whether they support taking industrial action.
The QTU would prefer to reach an agreement with the government. However, arbitration occurs when:
- one side of the negotiations asks the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) to assist in settling the dispute, or
- the QIRC determines to intervene in the dispute in the public interest.
Whenever the QTU has ended up in arbitration, it has been based on an application by the government to the QIRC (1997, 2000, 2003, 2009 and 2014).
The QTU is hopeful that a new agreement can be negotiated in a timely manner, however this is subject to the government’s willingness to purposefully address our eight interests, provide solutions to the teacher shortage and increase the current 2.5 per cent public sector wages policy.