Employer ordered to stop taking unprotected industrial action against employees
Langports English College creates another first
On behalf of members at Langports English College in Brisbane, our union has obtained an order from the Fair Work Commission (FWC) that the College stop taking unprotected industrial action against its employees.
The application for the stop order was necessitated by the employer’s totally disproportionate threat to lock employees out for a full day if they wore a badge in support of their industrial claims after employees at the College had successfully voted to take protected action – an unprecedented move by employees in the ELICOS sector in Queensland.
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said the granting of the stop order by the FWC evidenced our union’s diligence in protecting the interests of members.
“However, the employer’s actions leading up to the granting of the stop order have demonstrated the types of unreasonable tactics available to employers under Australia’s current broken industrial laws,” Mr Burke said.
“The decision by IEUA-QNT members to take industrial action was preceded by a lengthy period of bargaining where the legitimate claims of employees had been continually rejected by the employer.”
Mr Burke said the employer had taken offence to the content of an article which appeared on the IEUA-QNT website in early April 2019 with the employer requesting that there be a broadly circulated retraction of the article.
“The employer claimed that details of the fees charged to students as outlined in the article were incorrect,” Mr Burke said.
“In reply, our union asked the employer to identify where exactly the content was inaccurate.
“The employer did not do so.
“The employer then made non-specific statements regarding the content of the article being ‘deceptive, inaccurate and designed to injure’ the reputation of Langports English College.
“Our union asked the employer to provide further information to justify those claims and stated that any further information would be given consideration.
“Again, the employer did not respond.
It is a matter of record that the employer has:
- refused to insert into the proposed agreement a wages clause which is more beneficial than the Award;
- refused to formally provide paid marking and preparation time for casuals; and
- refused to insert a clause into the proposed collective agreement whereby long-term casual employees could apply to become permanent employees.
“In this later case, the employer has indicated that it would only accept such a clause if it is inserted into the Award.
“Our members at Langports English College are to be commended for their resolution to continue to seek improved conditions of employment in the face of such disproportionate response tactics from their employer and the shameful use of Australia’s current broken industrial laws in an attempt to silence our union,” Mr Burke said.