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Australian Paramedic Association Queensland
       

APA Qld Executive Committee. Summary to Members. EBA 2017

The APA Qld Management Committee and APA Industrial Relations team have reviewed the proposed Certified Agreement presented to QAS employees on the 19 October 2017. This correspondence is to communicate our position in relation to it. In our view, the proposed Certified Agreement should be agreed to by employees in the upcoming ballot. A ‘yes’ vote will bring Ambulance Employees, Patient Transport Officers, Communication Officers and Paramedics in Queensland the pay and conditions that are long overdue.

APA Qld has been silent since the delivery of the Remuneration Inquiry in June 2017. This has been intentional so as to avoid any perception that APA Qld was interfering with the bargaining process between United Voice and QAS.

In the past, APA Qld has been critical of the quality of the representation provided by United Voice. It is no secret that APA Qld has been critical of the results of previous arbitrations and the inadequate representation of individual member issues more generally.   

Such was the dismay with the apathy of the United Voice that members of APA Qld submitted to the QIRC in 2009 their own work value report containing wage comparisons so to at least try to put forward some evidence based analysis to the QIRC for consideration for the 2010 determination. That report which APA Qld members put forward in 2009 is similar in methodology and outcomes to the United Voice and QAS Remuneration Inquiry.

APA Qld has in the past repeatedly called upon United Voice to complete a Work Value Case as was undertaken in other States in Australia. It was obvious to APA Qld and was also clearly stated in QIRC decisions that a Work Value Case was required in order for Ambulance employees to achieve the level of remuneration they deserved and pay that was comparable with other States. When United Voice announced that the Remuneration Inquiry was to occur, APA Qld Management Committee was reluctant to trust that United Voice would adequately perform its role as the bargaining organisation in relation the Remuneration Inquiry as well as appropriately represent Ambulance employees in the bargaining that followed.

It is a credit to United Voice and QAS that the Remuneration Inquiry was exactly what was promised and is actually based on work value principles. The Remuneration Inquiry Report used methodology and evidence to prove QAS employees were the worst paid in Australia and demonstrated that they should be paid much more.

It was difficult at the time to extend a level of trust that United Voice were going to be successful with their bargaining attempt based upon the ambiguity about the methodology of the Remuneration Inquiry and the little information that was known at the time. It is with great relief and gratitude that we have before us a proposed Certified Agreement that APA Qld hoped could be achieved.

Having said that, there are some matters which have been raised within the proposed Certified Agreement that some members have expressed displeasure with and we respond to those matters as follows:

    1. There have been concerns raised about the extension of the meal windows and the provision of extending them even more if a certain monetary value is not maintained. We note that even though the meal windows have been adjusted to accommodate potentially 1  less hour of meal overtime achievable on a 12-hour shift, we would like to point out that meal penalties were basically lost completely in the final 2013 Determination.  Although this aspect of the 2013 Determination was never fully implemented, in essence, the meal penalties were gone. Normally once something is negotiated away, it rarely returns as an entitlement. We see the meal the return of the penalty system (with minor changes) in the proposed Certified Agreement as a huge victory and one which APA Qld considered was unlikely to occur.
    2. Schedule 3 of the proposed Certified Agreement shows the translation of the current pay points to the new pay increments and shows some minor disadvantages for particular employees. For example, an ACP2 on pay point 2 who is almost at pay point 3 but has not yet achieved this prior to the changeover date, will progress to Level 2, Band 2, Increment 4, instead of potentially Level 2, Band 2, Increment 7. As the current 3 pay points for ACP2 are now becoming 7 yearly Increments. The transition was never going to be perfect and for those officers who are slightly disadvantaged for a few years by this changeover, we understand your frustration, but overall the percentages of the entire pay rise far outweigh the loss of being slightly disadvantaged for this short period.

The beneficiaries of the proposed Certified Agreement are all Ambulance employees. The new classification system allows for adaptability and the structure is now similar to other professional health agencies. The remuneration is very fair and reflects the value, skills, knowledge and education of Ambulance employees. The proposed Certified Agreement comes shortly before Paramedics are about to undergo the most significant change in the history of Ambulance with the National Health Practitioner Registration of Paramedics. The proposed pay rates are reflective of the role of Paramedics as a profession.

APA Qld would like to thank the United Voice and QAS bargaining team for coming to an agreement that APA Qld believe all QAS employees should be extremely satisfied with and positive about.

The proposed Certified Agreement (if it is accepted) will be the start of a new era for Ambulance employees and Paramedics in Queensland. We look forward to the proposed Certified Agreement being accepted by QAS’s employees and implemented.

 APA Qld Executive Committee

 

 

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