Carinity members strike for arbitration
“2, 4, 6, 8 – it’s time to arbitrate!” was the rally cry that could be heard loud and clear today as members in Carinity Education schools stopped work for the fourth time in their fourteen-month battle for fair and just working conditions.
Teachers and school support staff at Carinity Education Southside (Sunnybank) and Carinity Education Glendyne (Hervey Bay) took strike action for one hour this morning, Tuesday 18 September 2018, holding community rallies to urge their employer to seek resolution of the long-running negotiations with the independent industrial umpire.
At the concurrent rallies, Carinity Education (part of the Queensland Baptist Church) members were commended for their solidarity and resolve in fighting to protect working conditions in their schools.
IEUA-QNT member and teacher at Carinity Education Southside Catherine Vero said members were committed to achieving a fair resolution to the negotiations.
“All we’re asking for is parity and to do that I believe we need to go to arbitration,” Ms Vero said.
“This is a last resort for us, but we have to.
“We deserve respect for what we do in this community and for these students.”
Watch video highlights from the action!
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said throughout the negotiations Carinity Education had remained wedded to an agenda of cuts to community-standard working conditions including superannuation, long service leave and redundancy provisions.
“Teachers and school support staff in Carinity Education schools have rejected the employer’s unfair attacks on their working conditions at every opportunity,” Mr Burke said.
“Staff have now taken strike action on four occasions and have twice voted down employer-proposed agreements (aimed at cutting conditions) by an overwhelming majority at ballot.”
Mr Burke said the negotiations had reached a critical point where intervention from the independent umpire, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) through arbitration was essential.
“It is the unfair nature of Australia’s current industrial rules that mean workers have limited power to fight obstinate employers who are intent on cutting conditions,” Mr Burke said.
“Members at Carinity Education have taken every action available to them to protest attacks on their working conditions – it is now time for the independent umpire to arbitrate these negotiations.”
Mr Burke said while broken industrial rules meant employees could not force Carinity to agree to arbitration, the employer should have nothing to fear from the intervention of the independent umpire.
“Carinity Education has repeatedly refused members’ calls to refer this matter to the Fair Work Commission for arbitration, instead seeking to hide immovably behind an agenda of cuts.
“Carinity Education should have nothing to fear from arbitration that will likely result in compromises from both parties to assist in reaching agreement – that is the nature of fair negotiations.”
Members rallied alongside IEU members from other schools, community supporters and representatives from the broader union movement including Ros McLennan - Secretary of the Queensland Council of Unions (QCU), Sam Pidgeon – Vice President of the Queensland Teachers’ Union (QTU) as well as members of United Voice.
Click here to add your name to Carinity members’ community petition urging Carinity Education to agree to refer the negotiations to the Fair Work Commission for arbitration.
Carinity operates four schools in Queensland (Sunnybank, Hervey Bay, Rockhampton and Gladstone) which largely cater for disadvantaged youth.
Find out more about the campaign at www.showyoucare.com.au