Insecure work is harming employees in our schools
In the lead up to collective bargaining next year – where insecure work is set to be a key priority issue – members in Queensland Catholic schools are sharing their stories.
Insecure work takes many forms including rolling contracts, fluctuating hours, casualised work and outsourcing or use of ‘independent contractors’.
Regardless of the form it takes insecure work has a profound impact upon the workers employed under these conditions, who now make up 40% of Australia’s workforce.
Members report being employed on rolling fixed-term contracts for as long as 15 years and have outlined the professional and personal hardship caused by the lack of secure work.
The impact of insecure work: member stories
“The stress caused from the insecurity of contract work is truly awful. I have been so incredibly worried about what would happen to me financially if I lost my income.”
“There is an emotional toll that affects me and those around me. Term 4 every year is full of stress due to not knowing if I will have work the following year.”
“It is difficult to obtain a home loan without a stable income. I am also looking to start a family but as a contract employee, I am not entitled to the full parental benefits that apply to permanent staff.”
“My mental health has suffered as I am unsure about my financial security and ability to care for myself and my family. I feel devalued as a professional.”
Many members said insecurity was driving quality teachers and school support staff out of the education sector.
There’s still time to share your insecure work story or show your support for the campaign to fight for secure jobs in our schools!
Plan to address insecure work
Members in Queensland Catholic schools recently endorsed their log of claims for the upcoming bargaining negotiations, which includes a clear call for ‘measures to address insecure work’.
These measures include: criteria to ensure only genuine fixed-term appointments are made; an audit to investigate fixed-term contracts and conversion to continuing positions; certainty of hours for part-time employees.
IEUA-QNT Assistant Secretary Brad Hayes said fighting back against insecure work for all employees, as well as putting an end to fluctuating hours for school officers were two of the key issues members want to see addressed in the next collective agreement.
“While fixed-term contracts should only be used in cases of an identifiable short-term need, the feedback from members, both teachers and school officers, includes shameful tales of the use of such contracts rolling over multiple year periods: the most outrageous being the use of fixed-term contracts for fifteen consecutive years,” Mr Hayes said.
“Meanwhile, for those school officers with continuing status, many are employed on a term-time basis and have their hours varied at the beginning of each year with no guarantee of how many hours they will receive the following year.
“Having secure employment that allows you to plan for the future is a foundation of Australian workplaces, yet this has been sadly eroded over time.
“Fighting for employment security for all Queensland Catholic school staff will be front and centre of our members’ campaign next year.”
Follow the upcoming Catholic sector collective bargaining campaign at www.qieu.asn.au/colb9