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 Award Review - Round 2

Under s. 130 of the Industrial Relations Act 1999 the Commission must review an award within three years after it was made or last reviewed.

The second round of award review commenced on 1 July 2004.

As a result of a series of conferences chaired by the Commission the industrial parties agreed to an agenda for the second round of award review.That agenda was:

1. 38 Hour Week
2. Wage Increases granted by Statement of Policy
3. Public Holiday Clause
4. Annual Leave
5. Awards not previously reviewed.

The Commission chaired conferences of the parties on 17 September and 16 November 2004. As a result of those discussions the items being considered as part of the Award Review Round 2 are now - 38 Hour week, Wages increases granted by Statement of Policy and Awards not previously reviewed. The Australian Workers Union (AWU) has decided to pursue the Annual Leave issue as a separate matter in 2005.

Below is an outline of the status of each of the remaining agenda items.

1. 38 Hour Week

The Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) and the AWU are to notify the employer parties and the Commission of those Awards that they consider are relevant to the review. The AWU has developed a list of proposed cost minimisation measures that it believes would permit the introduction of a 38 hour week.Those cost minimisation measures are ones that were generally pursued when the 38 hour week was introduced into most State Awards in the early to mid 1990's. Such measures include: 

The general consensus of the employer parties was that such cost-minimisation measures are outdated.They flagged that other measures would be sought.

The employers are to consider the list of Awards to be submitted by the QCU and AWU and to advise by the next conference date whether they:

A further conference of interested parties was convened in the Commission on 18 March 2005 following written responses regarding:

2. Wage increases granted by Statement of Policy

At the conference held on 17 September 2004 the QCU proposed a methodology for calculating increases to wage rates in those Awards that had not received any or all of the increases that had been made available by a Statement of Policy issued by the Commission.In essence that involved determining the wage rate that existed, as a 1 January 1987 then adding all wage increases available by Statements of Policy.After each calculation a rounding off exercise would be undertaken.

Employer parties supported this method of approach.

On 17 September 2005 a conference was held where the industrial parties were to settle on the awards that were to be included in this part of the review and, if possible, identify the wage rate that applied as at 1 January 1987.

Allowances were also to be renewed to ensure that all applicable increases have been added.The parties acknowledge the difficulties associated with adjusting allowances and agreed this aspect will need to be carefully examined.

The QCU also prepared a document that details the process to be followed for adjusting wages and allowances as part of this round of award review.DIR and some employer parties proposed some amendments to it.

A further conference of interested parties was convened in the Commission on 18 March 2005 following written responses regarding:

Arising from this award review process on 15 April 2005 the QCU filed an application (case no. B600 of 2005) seeking to increase wages and allowances that were available pursuant to wages case adjustments between 1987 - 2004.

The QCU decided to bring this application largely because differences could not be resolved at previous conferences.

On 27 June 2005 the Full Bench decided to amend awards to take into account any previous wages and allowances increases awarded during the course of wage case adjustments between 1 January 1987 to 1 January 2005.

The Full Bench in handing down this Decision also issued a General Ruling and a Statement of Policy: Principle for Adjustment of Wage and Allowances from Previous State Wage Case Decisions – 1987 until 2004 inclusive.

3. Awards not previously reviewed

An officer of the Registry has commenced to review those awards that were made during Award Review Round 1 to ensure that they comply with the Commission's Practice Note on Award Format.Once each award has been reviewed, the relevant industrial organisations and employer parties will be sent a copy of the proposed amendments for their comment.It is anticipated that the process of reformatting awards made in more recent years will continue throughout 2005.

Further Information:

If you would like further information about any of the above matters, please click here to e-mail.

For information on Round 1 of the Awards Review

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