In 2022 Together members campaigned for a better State Government wages policy. That campaign resulted in the old wages policy of wages of 2.5%, 2.5% and 2.5% for three year agreements being replaced with 4%, 4% and 3%.
This was a big win for Together members but was still less than inflation, which was over 5% at the time of the campaign. However, as part of settling EBs the Government offered a Cost of Living Adjustment if inflation remained above the wage increases.
In 2023 Together members campaigned to have the timing of COLA payments align with 2022 agreements so members negotiating agreements in 2023 were not disadvantaged if inflation decreased during the later years of their agreements. As a result all Together members covered by public sector agreements will have their COLA payments align irrespective of different timings of their agreements.
Last week the December quarter consumer price index (CPI) was released which had the Brisbane figure at 4.2% for the year. The figure for the March quarter will be released in late April and this is the figure which be used to determine whether members receive a COLA payment this year, irrespective of the date of their next wage increase.
Based on our analysis of the current quarter by quarter trend for the last twelve months, we believe that it is highly likely that the March quarter figure for Brisbane will be less than 4% and therefore members will not receive a second COLA payment this year.
The lower rate of inflation does not mean that members aren't continuing to face significant cost of living pressures. We are still all feeling the impact of the period when wages did not keep pace with inflation and Together will continue to make cost of living a key priority for our campaigns until higher wages have made up the difference that has been lost over the last eighteen months.
If you missed last week’s Public Sector Zoom, which covered this topic, you can watch it below.
The next briefing will be on 28 February and you can sign up to be part of the session here.