FWC convenes 9 days of negotiation between employee and employer representatives
Open negotiations – no preconditions
Good faith actions by both parties
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) has scheduled nine days of facilitated negotiations following discussions on Friday 6 May in the FWC between employer and employee representatives.
The FWC will facilitate those discussions in late May and early June.
The employer and employee representatives have agreed to the terms of the negotiations to be facilitated by the FWC – notably, that there are no ‘preconditions’ for the discussions and all aspects of the outstanding matters are on the table.
Employer and employee representatives have each agreed to a ‘good faith’ action as part of the undertaking to enter into the FWC process.
Outcomes of FWC Discussions 6 May
Employer and employee representatives met with the FWC on Friday, 6 May and after three hours of discussions both parties agreed to the terms of a statement issued under the authority of the FWC. (Click here to read the joint statement from our union and QCEC, issued by the FWC.)
In broad summary the statement contains the following elements:
- Facilitated discussions will be convened by the FWC (Cmr Susan Booth and Vice President Joe Catanzariti) in a series of nine days of meetings from late May to early June.
- The discussions will be open to all issues other than those already agreed in principle; those agreed ‘in principle’ will remain in principle agreed.
- Employer senior administrators will be invited to attend at various points and are otherwise welcome to attend at any time. The nominated representatives are to be committed to attend all meetings.
- Joint communications will be issued as appropriate during the process.
- The current SBU meetings are suspended.
- Employer ‘goodwill’ to the process is a reaffirmation that backpay will be made from 1 May 2015 (School Officers/Services) and 1 July 2015 (Teachers) on the basis of a balloted agreement whenever that occurs.
- Employee ‘goodwill’ to the process is a suspension of all current and prospective protected action for the period 10 May to 10 July 2016.
There is clearly much in all these elements but suffice it to say that the employers have now agreed to go back to the table without their conditions and we are in a process where a third party can assist both of us in the process of negotiation to get an agreement.
Our suspension of protected action has an end date (10 July 2016) and in the absence of agreement by that date the protected actions would be automatically reinstated to commence Term 3.
The employers are, for their part, on the FWC record with a commitment to backpay from 2015 School Officers/Service Staff 1 May 2015; Teachers 1 July 2015) and removes questions about backpay being put ‘at risk’ by the delay in a negotiated outcome.
Employee representatives have provided an undertaking that all current and proposed protected action will be suspended from tomorrow (Tuesday, 10 May) until Sunday, 10 July.
The protected action in schools was undertaken by employees to bring employing authorities to the table for meaningful negotiations of key employee issues.
Protected action is not an end in itself and it has achieved the outcome we sought with employers now involved in a process of negotiations facilitated by the FWC.
Chapters are meeting to consider resolutions noting the elements of the FWC process, commending the employer for entering into the FWC process and suspending (as relevant) the protected action currently in place or proposed.
Employer representatives have been advised that upon the suspension of the protected action, school level excesses of reimposing heavy meeting and relief lesson impositions will not be tolerated and would be seen as a break of the good will. Organisers are available to assist if there are any issues.
The negotiations facilitated by the FWC are to be welcomed and the agreement by employer representatives to enter those discussions without preconditions is to be commended.
There is still, however, much to do to achieve a negotiated outcome which addresses key employee concerns.
Member support to date has been essential to maintain what is now a thirteen month campaign, and their continued support in the next month is vital to achieve an appropriate outcome.