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Home > News > Catholic employers' lack of consideration rejected

Catholic employers' lack of consideration rejected

Members support direct employer and community campaign Chapters conduct member ballots


An advisory survey of Queensland Catholic school members has indicated an overwhelming rejection of any collective agreement which ignores employees’ legitimate concerns, places them at financial disadvantage and fails to address real work issues.

Members have also indicated their strong support for the scheduling of an advisory ballot of Chapter members to consider a formal ballot for protected industrial action.

Given the failure of employers to listen to employees’ concerns raised at the Single Bargaining Unit (SBU) meetings, Chapters have also endorsed taking the campaign directly to each Catholic employer and to the broader community for support.

Members have made it very clear they want proper consideration of their claim and professional respect.

Chapters are undertaking full member ballots in their schools so that members can consider actions to support the employee claim including a formal protected action ballot.

Results of member advisory survey

Members in Queensland Catholic schools have responded to the member advisory survey to demonstrate their concern over the employers' position which shows little consideration of employees' concerns and to give direction to the next steps in the negotiation campaign.

On average, 95 per cent of the members surveyed indicated their rejection of a replacement agreement which:

  • fails to provide comparable wages to that of a major interstate Catholic employer, namely NSW Catholic Diocesan
  • fails to respond to work intensification issues and the need to resource the expanding roles of school staff
  • denies wage justice for term time school officers by rejecting four weeks annual leave in line with the community standard and the conditions of interstate Catholic school colleagues

95 per cent of teacher members also indicated their rejection of a replacement agreement which:

  • suspends the ET6 allowance at the whim of the employer on vaguely defined performance issues or breaches of code of conduct
  • rejects ET5 as an automatic step given the additional duties teachers are already undertaking
  • makes no commitment to implement Highly Accomplished Teacher (HAT) and Lead Teacher (LT) classifications with commensurate salary levels

Significantly, members have endorsed the scheduling of an advisory ballot of Chapter members to enable consideration of protected actions to support the employee claim.

Members to take campaign to the community and employers directly

At the SBU meetings held this week, the employer representatives continued to ignore employees’ endorsed claims regarding comparable wages with interstate counterparts; issues of work intensification and the expanding roles of employees; wage justice for term time school officers; and provisions to strengthen the quality of education in Queensland Catholic schools. The employer representatives also reiterated their unacceptable position which threatens current ET6 provisions.

With Catholic employers failing to give proper consideration to the legitimate concerns of employees, Chapters have authorised a campaign which seeks a response to and resolution of the employee claims directly from each employer.

Chapters have also shown their support to make the broader community aware of the legitimacy of the employee claim and the impact of the employer position on the quality of education provided in Queensland Catholic schools.

Next steps: members consider further action via Chapter ballot

Chapters are undertaking full member ballots in their schools to consider further action. Chapter members seeking more information about this process, should contact their organiser

It is regrettable that employees are now forced to consider protected industrial action; the employer position and attitude has left employees no choice.

Chapters which endorse the conduct of a formal ballot to consider authorised protected action will be included in applications to the Fair Work Commission to direct the Australian Electoral Commission to undertake a secret ballot.

More on this story: Catholic Sector Collective Bargaining

Authorised by Terry Burke, Independent Education Union of Australia – Queensland & Northern Territory Branch, Brisbane.