The language of bargaining
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 127 No 3, 14 April 2022, page no. 14
Campaign updates are now being emailed out to members weekly. These provide a short overview of the interest area being discussed at the weekly single bargaining unit (SBU) meeting. During the negotiation process we use a variety of ways to address our eight interests (rather than a set of fixed positions).
Due to the nature of interest-based bargaining, the QTU cannot list detailed positions on each and every interest.
SBU meetings have been set and will occur until 29 June. Once initial negotiations have concluded, members will be sent further information about the next steps and the considerations members will need to take when an offer from the department is put on the table.
EB10 terms explained
Interest based bargaining - A strategy through which parties collaborate to find a “win-win” solution to their issues. This strategy focuses on developing mutually beneficial agreements based on the interests of the parties. Understanding why the department is oppositional or supportive of certain elements of our claim is important if we are to look at solutions that can meet the needs of us both.
Good faith bargaining protocols – EB negotiations are supposed to be in good faith, i.e. genuine. The protocols agreed explain what that means in practice. These protocols are developed and agreed to by the parties. They outline how negotiations are to progress, the form in which offers, proposals etc are to be made, the requirement for responses to be provided in a timely manner, the professional conduct of the parties within negotiations, and communication about the progress of negotiations and other matters. A breach of the protocols is grounds for involvement of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.
Without prejudice – The claim or idea is put forward for discussion or consideration but isn’t binding on whoever put it forward as negotiations progress.
SBU – The single bargaining unit is made up of representatives of the unions and the employer who will be parties to the agreement when it is reached. In the case of this EB, the QTU is negotiating with the representatives of the Department of Education and representatives of the Office of Industrial Relations. As Together Queensland has members captured by our award and agreement, they are also invited to be part of the negotiations, however it is usual for the QTU to lead these negotiations and represent the interests of members of both unions.
Terms of engagement – As part of the bargaining process, discussions are held at the start of every meeting reminding SBU members of the interest-based approach (IBB) terms of engagement, even though they do not form part of either the QTU’s or the department’s policies and procedures. These are:
- Treat people with respect and suspend judgement.
- Explore ideas to understand both parties’ interests – ask open questions.
- Exhaust idea exploration before moving to identifying solution options.
- Explore solution options to ensure mutual understanding before judging.
- Seek to assess solutions supported by evidence/agreed criteria and having considered financial implications (this may occur at each meeting, or it may occur at a later date).
Our eight interests
On 9 November 2021, State Council endorsed the final interests for EB10 negotiations. Member consultation during 2021 formed the foundation of these eight “interests”, which the QTU is now using in negotiations with the Department of Education. New submissions cannot be included, but members are advised to head along to their next branch meeting for more information about the democratic processes involved in our EB10 claim.
- Interest 1: Recognition of complex school environments and 21st century schooling through a review and enhancement of the resourcing and allocative methodology in schools.
- Interest 2: Salaries placing Queensland teachers and school leaders among the highest paid in Australia.
- Interest 3: Recognition of additional duties and hours worked outside rostered duty time.
- Interest 4: Improvement of working conditions, including class sizes, to mitigate workplace health and safety risks and the complexities of inclusive education and 21st century schooling.
- Interest 5: The provision of intentional collaboration and strategic planning time in schools.
- Interest 6: Recognition of the complexity of remote and rural education through enhanced incentives and resourcing for professional development and learning.
- Interest 7: Provision of security and certainty in employment through prioritising permanent employment across the state.
- Interest 8: Addressing employment inequities across the system.
By Beck Humphreys, Campaign Communications Project Officer