CODE 2, VOL 35, NO 22 : 06 july 2021
QFES/SOU 17.5% CASE – UPDATE
Following on from Code 2’s dated 2 and 5 July 2021, I can provide the following brief update on the progress of the QFES and SOU case against eligible members obtaining the 17.5% loading on their annual leave, as provided for by the state government last October.
As planned, the QIRC mention occurred on 6 July 2021. The appearances and comments by QFES and SOU representatives were extremely illuminating and I am forming a view of the expectations of these two parties to the matter.
SOU press hard on a request for conciliation:
The SOU representatives very keenly pressed for the QIRC to list the matter for a conciliation conference. Whilst conciliation conferences are a normal part of the QIRC handling applications, this case is different to the average dispute the QIRC hears.
The QIRC representative suggested that this matter might not be the sort that usually goes to conciliation, and that a legal interpretation by the QIRC may be the simple solution. However, the SOU stated in reply that there is a chance the matter could be resolved at conciliation (more on this point below).
QFES injunct themselves and agree to conciliation:
Without being required to do so, or even being asked to do so, QFES representatives a) provided an undertaking to the QIRC that they would not accrue or pay the entitlement to eligible members until at least a conciliation conference occurs (they injuncted themselves, which is peculiar), and b) immediately agreed to a conciliation conference.
SOU and QFES appear in furious agreement with each other:
The SOU and QFES representatives presented their statements today transparently and entirely in agreement with each other (again, peculiar, given this is a legal case with an applicant and a respondent).
It would appear to your state union office that the idea that the same QFES middle managers are instructing and/or involved in decision making for both the applicant and respondent in this matter is starting to become more apparent.
The fast and furious agreement between QFES and the SOU to go to conciliation could suggest that both parties may have expectations about what might be conciliated.
Is there a plan between them for more furious agreement on how to resolve this application? I leave it to you to ponder where the applicant and the respondent may end up in a conciliation of this matter, but it’s pretty clear that QFES and the SOU appear in this case to literally be two sides of the same coin.
So who does that leave to defend your entitlements if you are an eligible member? Certainly not QFES management, they’re falling over themselves to agree to their own claim stopping you from receiving the entitlement. As always, it’s only the UFUQ that will represent your interests to the full.
I will have more to report on the history of this matter when I can, but to do so now will prejudice our involvement in this matter and would show our cards to the other players in any ongoing proceedings. I ask you to stay strong in solidarity with your union, there is much more information to come.
Clarification of the SOU application:
Despite what some of you may have heard from members of the SOU or otherwise, the SOU case only attempts to prevent eligible UFUQ members from receiving an entitlement.
To be clear, the SOU case DOES NOT, in any way, attempt to obtain 17.5% annual leave loading for SOU members.
QIRC conciliation conference listing:
The QIRC has set 20 July 2021 as the date for the conciliation conference. I will update you prior to that conference and again once I am able to provide further information.
John Oliver - General Secretary
Authorised by John Oliver General Secretary
United Firefighters' Union of Australia, Union of Employees QLD