Local Government – Be Valued, Be Respected. Be Secure.
The Services Union is the union for all administrative, clerical, technical, professional, community service, supervisory and managerial staff in the Local Authorities industry.
Our working conditions are underpinned by the Queensland Local Government Industry (Stream A) Award – State 2017. We have Certified Agreements (CAs) which complement those basic entitlements at around 60 of the 81 Local Authorities across the state. CAs are normally renegotiated approximately every three years.
In October 2013, the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) undertook multiple “modernisations” of the Award which took more than three years. The first of these was at the behest of the previous LNP State Government, and saw key entitlements reduced. The second occurred when Labor regained power in 2015, and set about restoring lost conditions.
During this period, renegotiation of CAs could not occur, given that there was in effect no award to underpin conditions. Fortunately, our Union was able to negotiate administrative interim wage increases at many Councils during this time.
Once award modernisation finished, bargaining occurred (and continues to occur) simultaneously at many Councils at any one time, due to most CAs having reached their nominal expiry dates in the interim.
The key goals of this round of bargaining are to maintain all existing entitlements, seek improvements where we can (such as Severe Weather Leave and Domestic and Family Violence Leave and Support – our 28th and 29th Ways), and deliver pay increases that compensate members for productivity delivered since the last bargaining round.
Since formal bargaining recommenced in March 2017, we have been able to reach agreement with many Councils on CAs that align with these goals. However, some Councils have taken the stance that this round of bargaining should be an opportunity to lower wages and reduce conditions. Those Local Authorities, for reasons best known to them, have either:
- refused to deliver wage increases to account for pay freezes which occurred during the period when we could not bargain; or
- rejected our Union’s call for improvements such as domestic violence leave and severe weather leave; or
- attempted to maintain (or introduce) a two-tier wage structure which disadvantaged (or would disadvantage) the already lowest-paid, primarily female, classification levels; or
- sought significant reductions in existing core entitlements in exchange for only modest pay increases; or
- all of the above.
It will come as no surprise that those Councils where we’ve wrapped up negotiations on favourable terms are those where the membership is highest and most active. Member involvement in the bargaining process, from developing a log of right through to finalising negotiations and facilitating a ballot, will win the day every time. If you’re already a member and want to do more to help maintain and improve wages and conditions at your Council, talk to your Workplace Delegate, your organiser or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re not yet a member, we extend to you an invitation to join us and help deliver real change in your workplace. It’s easy: simply click here.