C&K members’ entitlements at risk
Crèche and Kindergarten Association (C&K) has refused to accept the recent wage outcomes for teachers in the Queensland state and Catholic school sectors as a benchmark for C&K teachers.
In ongoing negotiations for a new collective agreement, our union has tabled positions that would maintain the wage nexus C&K teachers have long-held with state school teachers.
IEUA-QNT Senior Industrial Officer John Spriggs said the employer’s refusal to acknowledge and meet this wage benchmark threatens the professional recognition of early childhood teachers.
“Teachers in kindergartens make a significant contribution to students’ learning just as primary or secondary school teachers do.
“Their professional contribution must be recognised with wages in line with benchmark rates paid to other teachers,” he said.
Other provisions under threat
C&K has also identified issues which would significantly reduce employees’ entitlements to superannuation, redundancy and vacation times.
Mr Spriggs said the removal of the superannuation contribution scheme by C&K was a retrograde step and would disadvantage female employees in relation to their superannuation balances.
C&K have requested that the ‘co-contribution’ scheme toward superannuation be closed to all new and current employees who do not currently make such a contribution.
“This is a significant equity issue for women as they continue to be placed at significant financial disadvantage when it comes to their superannuation.
“Enhanced employer contributions to employee superannuation results in a substantial benefit for members’ retirement savings in the longer term,” he said.
Our union has previously had discussions with C&K on behalf of employees identifying issues for negotiations, including the retention of existing conditions, reassessment of workload for Directors and expectations regarding vacation time.
“Employees should not be expected to use vacation periods as a time to perform work which cannot realistically or reasonably be scheduled during term time,” he said.
The call to address workloads came after our union’s survey of C&K members revealed that three quarters of staff work three or more unpaid hours each week.
The employee ‘issues for negotiation’ paper, which was tabled at a July meeting, proposed additional release time or remuneration for directors and a review of assistant paid hours to ensure employees are able to complete their duties in paid time.
Without identifying a specific proposal, C&K has also stated a need for a review of the quantum of the redundancy payments contained in the Agreement.
Our union has requested a firm proposal on this issue.
Member action vital
Mr Spriggs said fundamental to the continued recognition of early childhood education was the continued recognition of C&K employees.
“There should be no diminution of existing terms and conditions of employment, including the retention of existing release time and retention of comparability with wage rates in our schools.”
Member engagement will be vital to a positive outcome in these negotiations.
C&K members should review upcoming chapter briefings and participate in any member actions to ensure working conditions are protected and enhanced.
For more information visit our website at www.qieu.asn.au/candk