Catholic employers in denial of workload crisis
In what can only be described as an extraordinary and unprecedented position, Catholic employers have rejected every single initiative suggested by their employees to provide relief from excessive workloads.
These desperately needed initiatives include increases to release time, the implementation of changes to improve staff consultation as well as clarifying teachers’ hours of duty arrangements, all of which the employer completely rejected.
The issue of workload is an area member’s have expressed ongoing concern, yet the employer has shown no regard for the health and wellbeing of their staff suffering under work intensification.
IEU Assistant Secretary Brad Hayes said the employers claim to have workload issues ‘under control’ reflects their complete detachment from the reality school employees are facing every day and reinforces why we need to continue to raise a clear and persistent voice to address our key bargaining priorities.
“It is utterly shameful that the employers have had our union’s log of claims since November last year, but it was not until this week they managed to table a response, which leaves much to be desired,” said Hayes.
The initiatives the employer rejected in regard to workload included:
- Increased planning, preparation and correction time (unchanged since the 1990s)
- Additional periods of full-day release for collaborative planning, activities and meetings
- Parameters to govern the number of before and after school activities
- Greater support to deal with new programs or initiatives
- Updated hours of duty regulations for teachers
- Professional school officer support with student supervisions
- Better resources and consultation around learning support practices and class size
Employers miss the mark on wages
At the meeting held on Tuesday, 30 July the employers tabled a wage proposal for 2.5% increases for all employees but have completely rejected the additional $1250 one-off payment (pro-rated for part-time) currently proposed for state sector teachers.
This offer would leave many Catholic school staff earning less than the same employee in a state school down the road, with some teachers receiving between 1.3% to 1.7% less income this year than state sector counterparts.
The employers have also rejected the introduction of a top classroom teacher step to match the new Experienced Teacher 2 position in Education Queensland from 2021, a position which ignores a longstanding commitment to wage parity with Queensland state schools.
Leadership pay rates offer a step in the right direction
The employer has tabled an offer that includes increases to middle and senior leaders of up to 15% over the life of the agreement, which would provide significant financial outcomes by the final year of the agreement.
The employers wage offer includes a mix of leadership allowances and salaries that will require further detailed analysis and member consultation, however the recognition by the employer of the need for action in this area is a welcome development.
Unfortunately, their response to the non-wage leadership issues is disappointing, as they have rejected all other matters including the formalisation of primary school leadership roles and the protection of leadership release time.
School Officer issues and insecure work claims unanswered
The employer has shown a disregarding position towards a remaining priority member claim around careers you can count on for school officers.
They have continued to reject the long-standing issues identified by school officer staff and have tabled nothing further relating to this or the issue of insecure fixed-term work.
Members to escalate campaign
After three months of negotiations and continued employer inaction, member are left no other choice but to escalate our campaign.
Chapter meetings should be scheduled in Catholic schools in the new week to further consider the employers deficient positions and provide advice on member actions in response to these, ahead of the next collective bargaining meeting which will be held on 21 August 2019.
A full copy of the August Chapter Briefing can be found on our website www.qieu.asn.au/colb9.