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Home > News > 2016 > July > Collective action results in significant outcomes for QLD Catholic school employees

Collective action results in significant outcomes for QLD Catholic school employees

FWC New Approaches process concludes
Ballot for new agreement to take place soon

The ongoing and concerted collective action by members over the past 15 months has meant we have been able to achieve negotiated outcomes which recognise, respect and reward the contribution of employees to quality education in Queensland Catholic schools.

Member action in schools was critical to keeping the employing authorities at the table and in achieving these outcomes.

The Fair Work Commission (FWC) New Approaches process was of great assistance in resolving the last outstanding matters under negotiation including a wage position which achieves wage rates for classroom teachers comparable to our interstate colleagues.

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The FWC New Approaches process has now concluded and employing authorities have indicated their intention to ballot the proposed replacement agreement(s).

Members will receive advisories and fact sheets upon the release of the proposed agreement enabling them to access readily the details of the negotiated outcomes and the benefits flowing to them whether they are teachers, counsellors, middle and senior leaders, school officers or services staff.

Key Achievements

Our union is mindful of the many employment categories in schools and we bargain for all of our members.

At the start of the negotiations members had a fundamental objective to achieve comparable classroom teacher wage rates with our interstate colleagues. This has been achieved.

The achievement of an incremental wage rate for experienced classroom teachers in July 2018 of nearly $101,000 per year is a very significant outcome in itself. However, the achievement of that rate will underpin the further review and negotiation of the Highly Accomplished Teacher (HAT) and Lead Teacher (LT) positions. That wage outcome will also clearly feature in the time-bound review and negotiation which will commence shortly to address wage anomalies around middle leader and senior leader rates of pay. The FWC will continue to play a facilitation role in the review and these negotiations.

Measures have been achieved to address aspects of work intensification through the clearer definition of planning, preparation and correction time (PPCT); mechanisms for the replacement of lost PPCT due to planned school activities; and the inclusion of mentoring, appraisal and professional development (including online modules) within the hours of duty.

School officer members have achieved wage increases based on percentage and minimum dollar increases; improved access to the school officer qualifications allowance; stipulated timeframes for employer responses to reclassification requests; and a clear commitment by the employer to provide regular professional development opportunities for school officers and services staff and to reimburse these employees where the professional development occurs out of hours.

School officers who are term time will have a mechanism to maximise their hours with access to any additional work hours which may arise in either term or vacation periods at their school. The annual leave formula for term time employees will also be corrected to ensure that an employee’s period of paid annual leave is included as service for subsequent leave accruals. The current leave clause falls short of this common standard.

For Guidance Counsellors and Counsellors the issues, identified in the earlier working party, of professional development requirements, support with mandatory supervision, classroom teaching loads, review of counsellor workloads, remote area incentives and counsellors working across multiple schools, have all been significantly addressed.

Career Counsellors have finally achieved recognition of their professional standing with the role to be formally recognised in terms of professional development requirements, the application of relevant professional standards and the management of teaching loads. A minimum salary range for career counsellors will also be recognising an employee’s experience and formal qualifications.

A schedule of conditions for Catholic boarding schools has been achieved that would establish minimum wage rates for boarding supervisors. The schedule would provide an additional 5% increase over any general wage increase in a number of schools and includes an ‘aspirational’ wage schedule that will be subject to further discussion.

Services staff have achieved a skills-based classification structure and additional pay points as well as a new wages and conditions schedule. Services staff have also achieved provisions to ensure regular professional development opportunities and a formalised TOIL arrangement for professional development outside ordinary hours.

These significant achievements are the result of members’ collective action and are of long-term significance for Queensland Catholic sector employees across the state and for the quality of education in our schools more broadly.

Proposed agreement to be balloted

Following the conclusion of the FWC New Approaches discussions last week, the text of proposed replacement agreement has now been agreed between employee and employer representatives.

As required by the Fair Work Act, the employers will now conduct a ballot of employees seeking endorsement of the proposed agreement. Employers have indicated that they are currently intending that ballots will be conducted in week 3 of this term. Further details and dates will be provided by your employer.

As part of the legislative requirements, all employees will be provided with access to a copy of the proposed new agreement prior to the ballot.

Next steps

Once dates of the employee ballot are confirmed and copies of the new agreement circulated to employees, our union will provide a commentary on the various outcomes of the negotiations with links to the actual clauses which were negotiated.

Branch meetings will also be scheduled to provide an opportunity for members to clarify aspects of the proposed replacement agreement.

Should you have any questions about the proposed new agreement in the interim, please contact your designated organiser.

Visit the 3Rs campaign website.


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