AUXILIARY UPDATE : 29 june 2016



Penalty rates phased up on 1 July 2016
As you are aware, the historic first award for all auxiliaries was to have the penalty rates phased up between 1 January 2016 and 1 July 2018. Auxiliary award penalty rates will be phased up again on 1 July 2017.

As of Friday 1 July 2016, the following increases occur -
-           weekend penalty rates for Saturday and Sunday go from 128% to 135%
-           late work allowance goes from 105% to 110%

I also advised members in an update in Code 2 Volume 30 Number 14, 20 April 2016, that there is a scheduled union fee rise on 1 July 2016.

State wage case
You may be aware that a recent decision in early June 2016 by the Fair Work Commission provided a 2.4% minimum wage rise for Australian workers engaged in the federal system, to commence on 1 July 2016.

I have reported to you many times that as employees in Queensland, your employment conditions are set by the Queensland industrial relations system, not the federal system.

I am pleased to report that on 13 June 2016 the Queensland Council of Unions (the QCU) made submissions at a hearing to the QIRC on a claim for a 2.4% or $18.90 per week rise in the minimum wage in Queensland for employees of state and local governments (including members of the UFUQ).  There was also a submission to the QIRC that allowances rise by the same amount (2.4%).

The QCU made submissions on behalf of all unions who are covered by the state wage case and their submissions are developed in consultation with all unions, including your union.

Your award at clause 15(5)(a) states that the relevant allowances are to be adjusted by the relevant rate arising from the QIRC adjusting the wage rates in the award.  Now that an award is in place to cover auxiliaries, there is a capacity to receive annual wage rate rises arising from the state wage case decision made each year by the QIRC.

You may recall that historically, QFES treated auxiliary wages as an afterthought.  For many years, your union demanded that on each occasion (usually at the time of the annual rise for professional firefighters) that auxiliaries ought to receive a wage rise as well.

Your union had to do this because there was no industrial instrument, or agreement or document, or any other trigger for that matter, for auxiliaries to receive a wage rise other than the Commissioner's discretion.  So, your Union annually prompted the Commissioner to consider an auxiliary wage rise.

This untethering of auxiliaries from the professional certified agreement rates is an important and positive step in recognition of auxiliaries as a distinct group of state government employees, with award coverage.

You’re no longer an afterthought to full-time firefighters, and this change is a recognition that auxiliaries are entitled to actual wage rises coming from a real and formal process and decision, beyond your union having to remind QFES that it’s again time to consider one.

Keep in mind that the Commissioner was under no obligation to provide the wage rises in the previous system, whereas auxiliaries are now entitled to them arising from the award coverage.


GWN problems
Auxiliaries who are trying to work with the GWN, or with a hybrid analogue/GWN mix are aware of the difficulties GWN is creating regarding coverage, black spots and failures at emergency incidents.

Representatives of your union are working with QFES on ensuring procedures for emergency incidents are best suited to the current problematic network and we will continue to do this until either the GWN works properly, or it is replaced by a system that does.

I will keep you informed regarding the GWN and its slow progress to full capability across Queensland.