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Home > News > 2016 > March > Employees share a concern with parents for quality Catholic education

Employees share a concern with parents for quality Catholic education

Chapters to take campaign to Parents & Friends
Employer position has lost any credibility


Catholic employing authorities are failing to protect quality Catholic education while they continue to deny employees the time to do their job well, deny teachers professional rates of pay in line with their interstate colleagues, and deny community standards of annual leave to term time school officers in recognition of their contribution to quality Catholic education.

Chapters are asked to schedule a meeting in their uninterrupted break this Wednesday 16 March.

Employing authorities have lost further credibility with their inaccurate and ill-considered attempt to understate the level of employee support for the campaign.

Chapter meeting and letter to regional P&F Councils

All Chapters are requested to schedule a meeting during their 30 minute uninterrupted break this Wednesday 16 March.

An agenda for this meeting along with other materials to assist the meeting have been forwarded to Chapter Representatives today. These are a Letter to Catholic School Parents and a flyer IEUA-QNT members and parents stand together to protect quality Catholic education.

This letter should be sent to Chapters' relevant Diocesan Parents & Friends (P&F) Council or in the case of EREA and Religious Institute (RI) schools it should be sent to the state Catholic P&F body.

Many Catholic education employers recently included in newsletters to parents commentary regarding the 2.5% wage offer. The following centrally generated statement appeared in a number of school newsletters to parents in the lead up to the stop work action on 25 February:

“Catholic school authorities have offered our staff a 2.5% pay rise and we are hopeful that [employees] will soon accept this very reasonable offer”.

Employees know the offer is anything but “fair and reasonable”.

Catholic school parents and school employees form an essential partnership in the success of our schools, and it is appropriate for members to provide parents with details of our concerns so that parents can develop an informed view regarding the campaign.

Chapters have been asked to consider a Letter to Catholic School Parents and to forward it to their regional P&F Council. 

Our union will also be directly contacting all individual school P&F associations on chapters' behalf.

Employers’ claims offensive and inaccurate

Last week, the employers made some absolute nonsense claims regarding the level of employee support for our campaign.

Not only are the employers clutching at straws but they were attempting to rewrite (or deliberately ignore) provisions in the Fair Work Act (FWA).

The employer claims are just silly.

Here are the facts.

The FWA is quite clear that only union members in the school sites authorised by a formal ballot can take the stop work protected action. To do so otherwise is illegal.

For the recent full day stoppage, over 8500 union members were authorised and legally protected under the FWA to take the protected action; over 4300 members took the action. 

This represents over 50% of the members authorised to take the action.

It is quite offensive then for the employers to infer that their employees who were not authorised to take the action under the FWA should break the law in illegally taking stop work action in order to be considered as supporting the claim.

We know that there are thousands of other employees, who were legally unable to take the action under current industrial law, who support the campaign and will continue to do so until the employers take action to protect quality education in Queensland Catholic schools.

Instead of dissembling and airing their ignorance of industrial law, the employers should be trying to protect quality education through the provision of professional rates of pay, adequate time for teachers to do their job and four weeks annual leave for term time school officers in line with the community standard.

Fair Work Commission update

Further discussions regarding possible parallel considerations conducted by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) took place on Friday 11 March.

The FWC process is not arbitration. The FWC process is not a formal conciliation.

Rather, the FWC process is a facilitated discussion.

Each party is invited to share the background to their claim and identify possible resolutions which might be agreed.

Advice on the outcome of these facilitated discussions will be provided when available.

Community campaign continues

As part of our community campaign, an Open letter to the Queensland Catholic school community was published in this past weekend’s edition of The Catholic Leader. A copy of the letter is available here.

A new round of 3Rs radio ads are also running from today (Monday 14 March) until this Sunday, 20 March and can be heard on 97.3FM and 4KQ in Brisbane, MIX-FM on the Sunshine Coast, SEA-FM in Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Mackay, Cairns and the Gold Coast, 4TO in Townsville and HOT-FM in Toowoomba. Listen to the radio ad here.

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