Queensland Catholic school employers become first to threaten staff lockout
Over 7000 teachers and school support staff could be locked out of their schools indefinitely if Queensland Catholic school employers enact their threat made last Friday 22 November – creating chaos for the operation of Catholic schools across the state.
First Catholic employer to threaten lockout
Under industrial legislation, locking out an employee means they would need to immediately leave the school site – effectively removing over 7000 teachers and school staff from their classrooms and onto the street.
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said Queensland Catholic school employers have become the first Catholic school employer in Australian to threaten to lockout their teachers and support staff.
“Queensland Catholic school employers have now resorted to threats and bullying tactics in an effort to force an outcome regarding current collective bargaining negotiations,” Mr Burke said.
“That threat is to lockout staff – meaning they would be denied entry to school sites and prohibited from doing any work on school grounds,” he said.
QCEC's "no lockout" claims inaccurate
The claims by Queensland Catholic school employers of no potential lockout in their schools are inaccurate.
Clearly Queensland Catholic employers do not understand the Act or the provision within the Act they are invoking.
Read full IEUA-QNT statement re QCEC claim of 'No lockout in Catholic schools".
‘Take it or leave it’ offer
The employers have made a ‘take it or leave it’ offer directly to employees under the threat and intimidation of putting at risk employees’ entitlement to back payment.
Mr Burke said Queensland Catholic school employers had issued the threat last Friday 22 November as part of a ‘take it or leave it’ offer to their employees in regard to a new agreement.
“Employers have said that should school staff fail to stop the work bans they are currently undertaking as part of legal protected industrial action by 5pm on Wednesday, 27 November 2019, then employees continuing to undertake the work bans would be locked out from Friday, 29 November 2019,” he said.
Mr Burke said Queensland Catholic school employers would forever have the infamy and shame of being the first Catholic education employer in Australia to threaten a lockout of their employees for taking legally authorised protected action.
“IEUA-QNT members are shocked by the threatening behaviour of their employer in a school environment where bullying and threats are not only not condoned but explicitly prohibited,” he said.
“That Queensland Catholic school employers would resort to such shameful tactics goes against the very ethos of what a Catholic school represents.
IEUA-QNT members are urgently meeting today (25 November 2019) and tomorrow (26 November 2019) to discuss their response to the employers’ threatening and offensive offer.
As teachers and school professionals, members know bullying behaviour and threats of harm cannot be ignored – and just like in our schools, in the face of bullying a measured and considered response is appropriate.
That Queensland Catholic school employers would resort to such threats and intimidation clearly shows they have run out of ideas and that they are inept and incapable of identifying real responses to employee concerns over workload and wage parity.
Employees for their part do have meaningful and considered proposals to resolve the negotiations and the employers need to listen to their employees’ measured consideration regarding solutions to address these critical issues.
For the latest news on the employer threat, visit www.qieu.asn.au/onevoice