Muddled hours of duty hold up negotiations in NT
The messy state of hours of duty in Northern Territory Catholic schools could be easily resolved if the employer agreed to consolidate clearer provisions and abandoned attempts, in some schools, to make up attendance ‘requirements’ on whim.
Members in NT Catholic schools are currently in negotiations for a replacement collective agreement and have continually identified the muddle of directed hours – in both the collective agreement and a memorandum of understanding (MOU) – as a key issue.
The problem with the current provisions was exemplified by a recent claim in some schools that teacher attendance be ‘required’ from 8am to 4pm.
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said nothing could be further from the truth.
“It is well-known that while schools might be open within such hours, teacher attendance is only required from 10 minutes prior to the first school activity until the end of class instruction,” Mr Burke said.
“Members have been encouraged to ignore any such directions from their employer.”
“When some schools are making such demonstrably false claims around ‘required’ attendance, it is clear that hours of duty provisions need to be sharpened.”
Mr Burke said the employer had the capacity to resolve these issues at the next negotiation meeting on 21 March 2018.
“The bringing together of elements of the MOU into the collective agreement in a structured and plain language format, along with the removal of ambiguities in the provisions would easily resolve this issue,” Mr Burke said
“Teachers deserve to have the professional respect of their employer with clear and unambiguous directed hours of duty provisions.
“Teachers will, of course, continue to undertake a range of professional tasks outside of these employer directed hours - but what they don't need is their employer, at a whim, claiming these to be a 'requirement' and to be done where and when at the direction of the school.
Members will meet in their Chapters to pass resolutions calling on their employer to show professional respect for teachers by acknowledging that directed hours of duty should have well understood limits and that teachers undertake considerable self-directed hours to fulfil their professional responsibilities.
Mr Burke said the negotiations were nearing conclusion, should hours of duty concerns be resolved.
“Other bargaining matters have been addressed, so there should be no impediment to early payment of a wage increase once hours of duty concerns are resolved.”