Haileybury members vote down attack on conditions
IEUA-QNT members at Haileybury Rendall School in Darwin have rejected an employer attempt to cut conditions, including the removal of Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher allowances.
Employees voted down an employer-forced ballot by a significant margin with 66% voting NO.
The employer’s proposed agreement attempted to enforce upon staff:
- An expectation to work additional ‘reasonable hours’ without defining what ‘reasonable hours’ are;
- Compulsory unpaid participation in extra-curricular activities for up to 40 hours per year;
- Payment of wages and salaries monthly rather than fortnightly; and
- Exclusion of some employees who have previously been covered by the agreement.
The employer also attempted to deny back pay to 1 January 2019, with the rejected agreement only proposing back pay to the date of a successful majority ballot in favour of the agreement.
IEUA-QNT Organiser Jengis Osman said the employer position on back pay was a blatant attempt to force employees into accepting a substandard agreement in return for a pay increase.
“Members are to be commended for standing together and rejecting this substandard agreement,” Mr Osman said.
“Despite the continued efforts of IEUA-QNT representatives in the negotiations, the employer has dogmatically maintained their position to reduce employees’ existing conditions in a range of areas.
“The employer has taken the attitude of 'accept this or get nothing'.”
Question of weekend work remains
Mr Osman said members were particularly sceptical of what constituted ‘reasonable additional hours’ in the employer proposal and thought it unjust to mandate extra-curricular activity for no extra remuneration.
“The proposal made it clear that the employer has little regard for maintaining a healthy work-life balance for employees,” Mr Osman said.
Other key issues outstanding include hours of duty, insecure work and the maintenance of existing conditions.
Mr Osman said members would now seek to recommence negotiations with employer representatives; negotiations first commenced in September 2018.
Broken industrial laws fuel attacks on conditions
Mr Osman said sustained and increasing attacks on employee working conditions are symptomatic of unfair industrial laws.
“Collective bargaining for Haileybury Rendall employees, and all other employees seeking collective agreements, is conducted under the constant threat of losing already hard-fought wages and conditions.
“Members at Haileybury will continue to fight attacks on their working conditions – although current industrial laws significantly limit their scope to do so.”
Mr Osman said the only way employees can truly safeguard their conditions is to make change on an industrial level.
“This issue permeates industrial bargaining processes across sectors and across industries.
“We need laws that allow employees to improve their established working conditions, not threaten to diminish them or remove them completely.”
Members can learn more about how unions are fighting to change unfair industrial laws at www.changetherules.org.au