Union secures Commission hearing for Southern Downs Regional Council

This morning The Services Union met Southern Downs Regional Council in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC). Today’s QIRC listing was a ‘Mention’, meaning the Commissioner was mainly interested in where and when the conference would take place. Initially we asked for a conference in Brisbane to ensure we got the earliest date possible. The Commissioner was able to offer us an early date in Warwick, which we accepted.

One thing we did point out to the Commissioner was that it’s no wonder the going has been so difficult at the bargaining table, because clearly the Council has no understanding of the jurisdiction. For example, you need look no further than the CEO’s update from last Thursday 3 November, where the CEO contends that “[…] the QIRC cannot make a determination on backpay”.

Following submissions by our Union in the QIRC in support of a better pay increase for your colleagues at Mackay Regional Council in March this year, the Full Bench of the Commission made the following decision:

“[56] We determine that an increase of point five per cent backdated to 30 July 2021, to those employees covered by the Stream A Award, is reasonable.” [emphasis added]

The Full Bench went on to say:

“[64] We determine that there be a one per cent increase for employees covered by the Stream A Award and a point five per cent increase for employees covered by the Stream B Award and the Stream C Award to be backdated to 1 July 2020.” [emphasis added] (from QIRC Full Bench decision published 23 March 2022).

While it could be the case that your CEO knows more about what the QIRC can and can’t do than the QIRC itself does, it’s more likely that the industrial advice that the Council is paying handsomely for is plain wrong. We were happy to point this out to the Council and the QIRC this morning, just as we will be happy to argue for a backdated pay increase that gets you as close as possible to the current cost of living. Commissioner Dwyer will reconvene discussions on 25 November in Warwick. Now’s the time to speak with your colleagues, and if they’re not already members, remind them that joining is quick, easy and confidential online.

Above: ASU is the Union fighting for Southern Downs Regional Council.