Protected action possible at Carinity Education as employer seeks to create second-tier teacher
Teachers and school support staff working in Carinity Education schools in Brisbane, Rockhampton, Gladstone and Hervey Bay are set to vote on taking protected industrial action.
At the time of publication, a ballot is scheduled to be held in early November following an employer attack on employees' current working conditions.
Included in the employers’ latest position is a teacher classification scale which would see four-year trained teachers, at the top of the incremental scale, receive over $20,000 less than their counterparts in the majority of Queensland schools.
Carinity Education’s abhorrent proposal came after it backtracked on claims which had lead members to make application to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for a protected action ballot in the first place.
The employer claims, which have now been withdrawn following concerted member action, had included:
- Cuts to key conditions including maternity leave, superannuation co-contributions and long service leave.
- Significant increases to the hours of work expected by staff.
IEUA-QNT Organiser Richard Pascoe said despite Carinity Education having now scrapped these claims in light of member action and negative media coverage, the employer’s latest wages offer was nothing short of a direct attack on the working conditions of employees in their schools and on the education profession as a whole.
“Carinity Education is continuing its attack on the working conditions of its staff by stealth it would seem.
“The employer wage proposal was included in the draft document as an undocumented change and it is only in the fine print that the appalling details emerge.
“While Carinity Education had made an offer for 4 year trained teachers to move through their classification structure over a 4 year period – which would have been a significant enhancement for teachers - in their latest draft of the agreement, Carinity Education has now changed their position to an 8 step structure.
“Under the employer proposal, employees can only progress past step 4 (to the next level) if they hold a post-graduate qualification or apply to be appointed at the higher level (after completing the first 4 steps).
If they do not apply or have a post-graduate qualification the most they could be paid is $80,442 (as at 1 July 2018).
“That is over $20,000 less than many other sectors and effectively puts these teachers at the whim of the employer who may pick and choose who is appointed to the next step for whatever reason they see fit.
“It is certainly one possible scenario that Carinity Education could attempt to use this process in order to manage its budget – holding teachers at lower levels and not allowing them to progress – all to save on the bottom line.
“For those teachers holding a post-graduate qualification, the most Carinity Education is willing to pay is $92,804.84 – which would leave these employees close to $10,000 behind their state and Catholic school colleagues.
Mr Pascoe said Carinity Education’s proposal showed their complete lack of understanding of the education sector and the working conditions required for educators to provide quality education to their students.
“This is very concerning given a key mission of Carinity Education, an outreach of Queensland Baptists, is to engage and educate disadvantaged and at-risk youth.
“Carinity Education should be looking to provide wages that attract and retain staff — staff who understand the complex needs of students.
“Instead, through its words and actions, Carinity Education has revealed it wants to create a two-tiered system where its staff aren’t afforded the same respect and working conditions as their counterparts in other independent, Catholic and state schools.
“This has left our members at Carinity Education’s four Queensland schools with no other choice but to vote on taking protected action in order to have their concerns addressed by their employer.
The outcome of the protected action ballot is expected in early November.
For the latest news on collective bargaining at Carinity Education schools, click here.