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Home > News > 2017 > November > Members' collective action enhances conditions and results in $5,000 parental leave back-pay

Members' collective action enhances conditions and results in $5,000 parental leave back-pay

Money_zoom_web_qual.pngAfter nine months of negotiations, Townsville Grammar School collective bargaining has resulted in enhanced wages and working conditions for employees.    

Employees overwhelmingly endorsed the new collective agreement in a ballot held on 21-22 November. 

97.7% of those who voted endorsed the agreement.

The agreement contains significant changes to the future working conditions of school staff, including:

  • Wage and salary increases that maintain a 3% premium above Education Queensland wage rates.
  • Improvements to employee career structures and recognition.
  • Introduction of Highly Accomplished Teacher (HAT) and Lead Teacher classification by the commencement of 2020 with salary rates for these classifications that maintain the 3% Grammar premium.
  • More explicitly defined hours of duty and school year length.
  • New provision for the payment of co-curricular duties.
  • Two additional salary steps for Early Childhood Education (ECE) teachers.
  • Pay for non-teaching ECE employees for attendance at all out of hours events.
  • New leave provisions for health check leave and domestic violence leave and increase to Bereavement leave.
  • Provisions for the cashing out of annual leave (for non-teaching staff) and excessive leave accruals.

Click here for full list of changes in the proposed agreement. 

Error in parental leave entitlements rectified 

Not only did the Single Bargaining Unit (SBU) representing members at the table achieve much needed changes to the collective agreement, the bargaining process has proved integral to the monitoring of pre-existing conditions present in the agreement. 

It was brought to the attention of the SBU by members that the current provision for parental leave was not being implemented correctly. While the provision stipulates that parental leave would be paid exclusive of vacation periods, employees were receiving leave entitlements inclusive of vacation periods, causing a significant difference in what members were receiving and what they were actually entitled to. 

After intervention by our union at the bargaining table, the employer acknowledged the error – which had been occurring for years. Employers have corrected the error in the form of back-paying members who received incorrect parental leave payments, with some members receiving up to $5000.

IEUA-QNT Organiser Wendy Hutchinson said this action by members at the bargaining table highlighted the importance of union presence during negotiations. 

“Not only do we as a union fight for better pay and working conditions, we also monitor what members have fought hard for in the past, and ensure that all provisions are implemented correctly. 

“If members had not intervened and highlighted this issue to employers, who knows how many more years of entitlements employees would be missing out on?" 

Ms Hutchinson thanked all the employees who formed the SBU. 

“Our union whole-heartedly appreciates the work of Michael Moores, Catrina Camakaris, Kay Wilson, Wendy Burgess, Megan Hosford and Trish Christiansen in ensuring our members’ contributions to the school community are recognised and rewarded appropriately. 

“Their effort is to be commended," Ms Hutchinson said.

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