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Home > News > 2017 > November > Employer must support Shalom Christian College staff

Employer must support Shalom Christian College staff

Teachers and school support staff from Shalom Christian College in Townsville remain deeply shocked and angry following the media announcement earlier this week of their employer's plans to close the secondary school and boarding facility.

Our union's Assistant Branch Secretary Brad Hayes said the closure of a school in such a manner, in the absence of any staff or union consultation, was unprecedented.

“The employer has ignored clear legal requirements to consult with staff and our union prior to the media announcement,” he said.

“Our union received an emailed copy of the employer's media statement at 9.20pm on Sunday night prior to the media reports on Monday morning.

“This is not consultation and it is not good enough."

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Member events to be held Thursday 30 November 2017

Shalom Christian College staff and students were devastated by news the Uniting Church will close their secondary and boarding school.

85 will lose their jobs just weeks before Christmas.

Rallies will be held in Townsville and Brisbane on Thursday, 30 November 2017 @ 7.30-8.00am.


Dispute lodged with Fair Work Commission

Our union has lodged a formal dispute with the Fair Work Commission (FWC) challenging the employer's lack of due process and their blatant disregard of their legal obligations.

“The employer has handled this process terribly so far," Mr Hayes said.

“While the pain of recent days cannot be undone, the employer must now do all that it can to minimise any further distress and uncertainty for staff.

“Our union will take all steps necessary to ensure the employer abides by fair industrial processes and treats its staff with compassion and respect."

'Secret' report foreshadowed College closure

Employer statements in recent days have confirmed the existence of a report relating to a review of the College which was received by the employer on 31 October 2017.

“The employer has claimed the report contains a number of options regarding the future operation of the College including the extraordinary option to close the school – yet the employer has refused to provide a copy of this critical report to employees and our union," Mr Hayes said.

“The employer must release the report immediately and provide full transparency for their actions,” he said.

Employer must support staff facing redundancy

A meeting of IEUA-QNT members on Tuesday afternoon (21 November 2017) had unanimously endorsed a set of arrangements to apply in the case of any redundancies at the College.

“Members have endorsed a clear position regarding the support and assistance their employer needs to provide in this very uncertain and unsettling situation they now face, just weeks before Christmas," Mr Hayes said.

Urgent discussions will be held with the employer to seek action from the employer to provide these protections and entitlements.

College closure to have wider impact

The closure of the College’s secondary and boarding facilities not only impacts staff and students but also students’ parents and will have ripple effects throughout the wider Townsville community.

Mr Hayes said the future for students and staff at the College’s primary facility was also under a dark cloud.

“While these staff know they have a job for now, the question they are asking themselves is for how long,” Mr Hayes said.

Our union will be calling upon all IEUA-QNT Chapters to show their support for Shalom Christian College members by participating in actions on Thursday, 30 November 2017.