Catholic employers respond to employee log of claims
Catholic employers have adopted a highhanded response to the endorsed employee log of claims asserting that employer ‘flexibility’ at the workplace will resolve employee concerns.
However, in the midst of this ‘flexibility’ rhetoric the employers are ignoring the substance of the legitimate employee claims which seek to address the expanding role and duties of Catholic school employees, family responsibilities and the need for greater certainty in hours of duty and part-time arrangements. Employee claims in these areas were all rejected by employers at this week’s Religious Institute (RI) and Diocesan single bargaining unit (SBU) meetings.
The employer representatives told employee SBU representatives to “let us get on with business”. No changes to existing provisions were necessary nor appropriate.
Employer seeks ‘flexibility’ in addressing critical issues
Employers have given in-principle agreement to just three matters: a common percentage increase for teachers, school officers and services staff; induction of school officers and services staff (agreed subject to final package); and remote service to be recognised by future employer (Diocesan).
In addition, employers have indicated preparedness to discuss a small number of other items while rejecting the vast majority of employee concerns repeatedly stating “Employing authorities are not prepared to accede to [the employee] claim”.
Every employee claim related to addressing the expanding role and duties of employees was rejected by the employers. Instead they propose these issues should be managed with ‘flexibility’ at a school level.
Employers are adamantly ignoring that the very reason employees have tabled these claims is because these matters are unresolved at a school level.
The employer position only serves to create an adversarial environment at the school level, putting employees in an endless cycle of negotiation and fostering frustration and disharmony, in turn placing further pressure on the quality of education provided to students.
Employers must show employees respect for their contribution to the school community by recognising and including provisions to address their legitimate concerns in this round of collective bargaining.
Employers stall resolution of issues identified by working parties
Despite having working party recommendations on a range of matters for over two years, the employers still do not have a clear view on these issues that they can table.
It is time for them to recognise that employees deserve more than “further discussion” when it comes to these employment conditions. Boarding house staff, services staff and counsellors deserve better.
Full employer response available for review
A summary table outlining the employer response to the employee log of claims is available here. A full copy of the employer tabled response to the employee log of claims is available for Diocesan schools here and for RI schools here.
The next SBU meetings will take place on Tuesday 26 May (Diocesan) and Wednesday 27 May (RI).
Employee SBU representatives have prevailed upon employer representatives to reconsider some of the employer misguided positions and a response to these items is anticipated at the next meetings.
Members will continue to be advised of developments and on the basis of the employers’ further response members will be asked to consider collective action in support of the employee claim.