Catholic employers still in denial on middle leaders
Queensland Catholic school employers have insisted there is no problem with rates paid to middle leaders, despite members overwhelmingly endorsing the need to recognise and reward their work.
Enhancements to teacher classifications were recently endorsed at ballot by members, which cemented the top-step classroom teacher rate of just under $101,000 from 1 July 2018.
With these classifications now resolved, our union continues with separate negotiations with employers to consider middle leader rates in light of the new benchmark rate.
The employer’s tabled a position in 2017 to ‘absorb’ new teacher classification rates into a substantive salary for middle leaders would deny middle leaders any financial benefit arising from the new structure.
Employers have made no contemporary wage offer or position, claiming middle leader rates were already resolved and ‘nothing has changed to merit different rates’.
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said members were seeking to break the deadlock with employers by exploring an alternative middle leader wage model that would be mindful of members’ concerns and take account of employer concerns regarding affordability.
“Members are prepared to consider either an allowance based system or substantive salaries, provided that the rates adequately recognise their contribution as teachers and as leaders,” Mr Burke said.
“Whether it is an allowance-based system or substantive salaries, the rates must exceed the employers’ original offer and provide appropriate reward to middle leaders.
Mr Burke said despite employer claims to the contrary, members have continually highlighted the increasing demands and work expectations that have been placed on middle leaders over time.
“The employers must face reality and accept that things have clearly ‘changed’ in the form of new teacher classifications,” Mr Burke said.
“Employer action is needed now to establish middle leader rates which recognise their work and contribution as teachers and their work and contribution as middle leaders.
“The onus is now on the employers to commit to real wage solutions for middle leaders.”
Mr Burke said members were denied from taking any meaningful workplace action in support of middle leaders due to Australia’s broken industrial laws.
“Under our current laws, an employer can adopt an intractable position – like Catholic employers in this instance – and effectively stare down employees’ rightful claim,” Mr Burke said.
“There is no third party intervention possible to point out to employers that they have got this matter badly wrong.
“The current rules must be changed to provide for fair bargaining in matters like these middle leader negotiations.”
Catholic employers are expected to provide a formal response and wage position regarding middle leader rates in early June.