Catholic employees to stop work again as employers fail their staff and their schools
Stop work meetings to consider further protected action
Two consecutive one hour stop works set for 5 November
Despite seven months of negotiations and a growing community campaign by members, Queensland Catholic employing authorities have again failed to show they care about employees’ key issues at this week’s SBU meeting.
Queensland Catholic school employees went into a meeting on 27 October ready to resolve this round of negotiations – unfortunately Queensland Catholic school employers clearly were not.
Instead, the employing authorities are still dragging the chain when it comes to addressing critical employee concerns related to ever-increasing workloads and the provision of wages in line with a comparable interstate Catholic employer.
The employers’ failure to show they care left members in the 195 Chapters now authorised to take protected action little choice but to consider further protected action when they met during a half hour stop work on Thursday 29 October.
Member endorsement of further protected action was in the form of two consecutive one hour work stoppages from 8:30am until 10:30am on Thursday 5 November.
Employers struggle to understand or respond
At the SBU meeting on 27 October, Queensland Catholic employing authorities:
- had to admit they weren't prepared enough to talk about hours of duty and workload
- weren't prepared to go to the Fair Work Commission for advice on the entitlement for 4 weeks annual leave for term time school officers
- weren't going to consider comparable wages with comparable interstate Catholic employers
- stated again that the issue of higher wages 'wasn't about affordability'
- persisted with a view that consideration of Highly Accomplished Teacher (HAT) and Lead Teacher (LT) would need 'at least two years'
- maintained a position that would continue to have significant numbers of boarding house staff on poverty wages for years to come
- still hadn't done their sums on modest proposed wage structures for services staff
- ignored (except for BCE) issues around the professional standing of counsellors in schools
- confirmed 'all employing authorities had been consulted' on wages; and
- patronisingly asserted that their offer was 'fair and responsible'.
Employee representatives came to the negotiations with a preparedness to resolve an agreement.
The sum total of the outcomes of the day, with 12 employer representatives in attendance, was confirming the wording of a clause which had been agreed in principle at the last SBU meeting!
Members will maintain campaign until employers do care
Queensland Catholic school employees care about the future of Catholic schools and know that the matters they have put on the table for negotiation are critical to the future of Catholic schools and the education of students.
This round of collective bargaining will not be resolved until Queensland Catholic employers come to the bargaining table with a clear commitment and authority to show that they do care about their employees who are fundamental to the delivery of high quality Catholic education.
The dishevelment and shambles evident from employers at the SBU meeting point to the need for leadership among employing authorities to resolve the matters in negotiation in the interests of their staff, the students and the school communities.
Catholic employing authorities can do the right thing by their employees and their schools.
They can give wage justice to term time school officers - they just choose not to.
They can affirm professional recognition for school counsellors - they just choose not to.
They can provide career paths for services staff - they just choose not to.
They can make meaningful intervention into workload issues - they just choose not to.
They can redress poverty wages in boarding schools - they just choose not to.
Catholic employing authorities can afford to meet the wage claim - they just choose not to.