Lutheran Education Queensland (LEQ) confirm agenda to cut key working conditions
Lutheran Education Queensland (LEQ) has confirmed its plan to cut, control and constrain employees’ working conditions in the new collective agreement.
In employer papers tabled at the most recent negotiation meeting on 20 November 2019 the agenda to cut conditions related to hours of work for teachers and the Positions of Added Responsibility (PAR) schedule were clear.
The employer also wishes to cut sections of the current agreement which provide employees with a level of confidence that they will be treated and rewarded fairly for their commitment to Lutheran schools in Queensland
IEUA-QNT Industrial Services Coordinator Chris Seymour said employees should see the employer mantra of “Simplicity - Flexibility - Sustainability” as a one-sided attempt to empower and enable principals at the expense of teachers and school support staff who would instead have protections provided in the current agreement cut.
“Whilst the employer papers containing cuts and controls have now been tabled, not once has the employer sought to recognise the contribution employees make on an ongoing basis to LEQ schools by agreeing to any matters in the employee claim,” Mr Seymour said
“It is clear that the employer agenda is to cut conditions, whereas the employee claim seeks to provide adequate time for employees to enhance their professional contribution to their schools.
“It is disappointing that although our employee claim was tabled at the first negotiating meeting on 11 October, the employer is yet to agree to a single matter in our claim.
“Now that the employer’s agenda is clear, employee support and active engagement with the collective bargaining process is critical to resisting the Cuts, Control and Constraints evident in positions put forward by the employer.”
Employer seeks amendments to Hours of Duty with no regard for work intensification
LEQ wishes to see Schedule 7 (Working Arrangements for Teachers) applicable to all employees – with Schedule 8 and 9 to be cut from a new agreement.
This proposal would result in:
- Deleting of examples of teachers work (Clause 2);
- Deleting affirmative action and workplace health and safety clauses (Clauses 3.2 and 3.4);
- Claiming an unused lesson each week which can be accrued and used at the employer’s discretion over the school year;
- Changing the continual work provision to allow for a 15-minute break which would break the continuous hours clause (Clause 4.6);
- Part-time definition to move to 90% of a full-time equivalent teacher (Clause 5.2.1);
- Changing the divisor for part-time teachers from 60 to 62; and
- Changing the divisor for casual teachers from 53 to 62.
This proposal has no regard to the impact it would create in terms of workload and work intensification in Queensland Lutheran schools and instead seeks to cut teacher conditions and increase their workload.
Our tabled employee claim instead seeks to do the opposite, by addressing work intensification through provisions of sufficient time to enable teachers’ quality contributions to their students.
Employer flexibility for PAR at the expense of teachers
The LEQ paper tabled in regard to Positions of Added Responsibly (PARs) seek to cut protections relating to the minimum number of PAR points in a school and replace that by giving principals the ability to create, name and determine the tenure of PAR roles.
The employer requests no consultation with staff and no minimum conditions as currently exist in Schedule 6.
There would also be no agreement for a substantive salary and no suggestion of how an allowance would be determined.
They also seek to implement:
- Wages decoupled from the teacher wage spine (currently 3.75% of Band 3 Step 4);
- No defined tenure – negotiation with the principal;
- PAR time release averaged over the year;
- Those with tenure currently will see out their tenure before being able to apply for a new PAR role implying, they could be worse off. There is no suggestion in the employer document that existing PARs could otherwise immediately transition any new structure; and
- HALT to be part of the PAR schedule even though AITSL recognises HALT as an alternate pathway to PAR positions.
It is clear the key changes proposed by LEQ would cut the certainty that currently exists in Schedule 6 with the potential for the employer proposals to create significant differences in recognition and reward for largely the same PAR roles and responsibilities.
Highly Accomplished Teacher (HAT) and Lead Teacher Schedule remains unresolved
Whilst agreement was reached on issues such as criteria for recognition, tenure and acceptance of AITSL definitions in terms of their role in the school, significant differences remain in terms of salary and additional duties.
The employer position remains that HALT teachers receive their teacher classification and an allowance once recognised as a HAT or Lead Teacher, with no reference to discounting of normal duties.
This means that if directed to undertake additional tasks, the HALT would need to negotiate this with the principal.
Our employee position recognises that all nationally recognised Highly Accomplished Teachers and Lead Teachers receive a substantive salary as recognition for those roles, and where a HALT is requested to undertake additional duties at their school, there will be discounting of normal duties to allow time for the additional work.
School Officer discussions underway
Employee representatives proposed the capacity for School Officers to take on additional hours from teachers.
Additionally, preliminary discussion was also initiated for a review of Schedule 10 School Officer Classifications, in which employees see discussion of appropriate renumeration, classifications, ability to move between the lower levels (levels 2, 3 and 4) and job security as critical issues for any review.
Discussions are scheduled in 2020 to determine the terms of reference for a working party to look at a number of school officer issues.
Employee engagement essential
It is critical that IEUA-QNT members in Queensland Lutheran schools invite their colleagues to join our union, attend Chapter meetings and visit www.qieu.asn.au/lutheran for the latest news on the employer’s attempt to cut conditions.
To keep up to-date on the LEQ’s proposed cuts, visit www.qieu.asn.au/lutheran.