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Home > News > 2019 > August > Employer inaction forces members to consider protected action

Employer inaction forces members to consider protected action

Bargaining_with_one_voice.pngQueensland Catholic school employers’ refusal to meaningfully respond to key bargaining claims has forced members to escalate their Bargaining with One Voice campaign.

IEUA-QNT Chapters are currently undertaking advisory ballots to endorse a formal ballot for protected industrial action.

IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said members were forced to escalate their campaign after employers refused to move on key claims and broke a thirty-year long commitment to wage parity with state schools.

“Under the employer position, employees in Queensland Catholic schools would be left worse off than their colleagues in state schools.”

Mr Burke said four months of negotiation had also seen employers refuse to budge on key claims related to work-life balance and recognition of school officers.

“Members do not endorse protected industrial action lightly, but members also know that when negotiations stall, protected action is often the driver toward successful bargaining outcomes for employees,” Mr Burke said.

“The current employer position would not meaningfully address the serious workload concerns of employees, nor acknowledge school officers through an immediate classification review and commitment to on-going professional development.

Mr Burke said some positive movement has been seen with the employers now considering new limits on the use of fixed-term contracts and committing to adjusted middle leader wage rates – although neither position fully meets members’ original claims.

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“While the employer position does address the injustice of middle leader wage rates, it would occur through a very delayed schedule and would not recognise primary school middle leaders.”

“A recurring theme from the employers is the rejection of clear and transparent entitlements in the agreement. 

“Instead they seek to relegate important working conditions to local level decisions and employer discretion. 

“Members know from lived experience that such local decisions are often ineffective or simply ignored if not backed by enforceable provisions.”   

Ballot to address critical question

Mr Burke said the critical questions now for members, to be addressed in the advisory ballot, was whether they could accept the employers’ response to their bargaining claims.

“Members will decide the future direction of our campaign in this advisory ballot,” Mr Burke said.

“I suspect, for the majority of members, what the employers have put forward will be viewed as simply not good enough.

“Members have submitted a thoughtful and comprehensive log of claims in this round of bargaining and we are now at a point, unfortunately, where considering protected action is the only way to continue pursuing most of these claims.”

Mr Burke encouraged Chapters to participate in the advisory ballot and have their say in the campaign.

Under the advisory ballot process, individual Chapter members will vote on the proposed conduct of a formal ballot by the Australian Electoral Commission to determine if protected industrial action (e.g. work bans, work stoppages) is authorised for future possible action at their school.

Find out more about the Bargaining with One Voice campaign here.

Authorised by Terry Burke, Independent Education Union of Australia – Queensland & Northern Territory Branch, Brisbane.