Funding figures not in dispute as employers remain wedded to incomprehensible wage position
Queensland Catholic school employers have not disputed the accuracy of funding calculations pointing to their capacity to pay rates comparable to NSW Catholic Diocesan wages.
However, the employers continue to dispute the employee position that there should be comparability of teacher rates to that of a major interstate Catholic employer, namely NSW Catholic Diocesan. The employee position has “no merit” according to the employer representatives.
Employer representatives reaffirmed at the single bargaining unit (SBU) meetings this week that employee wage rates should be tied to the Queensland state sector.
The employer position is quite incomprehensible in that they adamantly assert that they will ‘pay more if the state pays more’ but they will not pay more on the basis that a comparable Catholic employer pays more.
Employer position inexplicable – affordability not the issue for employers
Employer representatives continue to state that their rejection of the employee wage claim was “not a matter of money” and that they “did not dispute” funding figures presented by employee representatives at the last SBU meetings. The employer representatives maintain the Queensland state sector is the comparator for any wage increase as it is the appropriate reference point.
This employer position ignores the real reference point of Catholic school to Catholic school, and as demonstrated by employee representatives and accepted by employer representatives there is comparable funding capacity in NSW Catholic Diocesan and Queensland Catholic schools to pay a comparable set of wage rates to employees.
Effectively the employer wage position is to find an artifice to restrain employee wages.
Continued member action necessary
The ability for employers to ensure wage justice for Queensland Catholic school employees by providing comparable rates to that of a major interstate Catholic employer, namely NSW Catholic Diocesan is in no doubt; the employee analysis of funding to the sector has clearly revealed comparable funding income. Employers have acknowledged that ‘further discussion is needed on wages’. That is helpful; but employers need to move beyond their tired and increasingly not relevant arguments about state sector comparisons and embrace a position where their employees receive the same respect and recognition as interstate counterparts with comparable wages given the comparable funding.