Catholic employers continue to ignore employee voice
Employers in Queensland Catholic schools have once again failed to listen to the voice of their employees, as negotiations continue for a replacement collective agreement.
With priority claims on teacher workload and careers you can count on for school officers remaining unaddressed following a formal bargaining meeting this week, members are now forced to consider escalating their Bargaining With One Voice campaign.
IEUA-QNT Assistant Secretary Brad Hayes said members are not prepared to see these issues remain unresolved.
“From day one of these negotiations we have said that work intensification for teachers must be addressed alongside new measures that fully value the contribution school officers make in our schools,” Mr Hayes said.
“While we are making some (slow) progress on a few school officer issues, the employers have failed to offer any real solutions for teachers battling immense workload pressures.
“The view of the vast majority of members is that the time for talk about workload is over; we need real action to support stressed and overworked teachers.”
Mr Hayes said the key area of progress in the negotiations has been increases to leadership salaries; however, the timeframe and sequences of the increases have not been agreed.
“The employers have rejected our claim for accelerated access to the full rates within 12 months and are instead insisting on a two year delay to 1 July 2021.
“In addition to the issues around timeframe, the employers have also tabled a position that would provide them with a greater ability to restructure or terminate middle leader positions within their current appointment period.
“There is also no commitment to match the state sector outcome of a $1250 bonus payment, despite our proposals to phase in the payment or work with the employer on a cost effective alternate model of payment.”
Industrial action under consideration
IEUA-QNT Chapters have overwhelmingly endorsed an advisory ballot for possible industrial action, with 96% voting in favour.
Mr Hayes said consideration is currently being given to scheduling formal ballots through the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) in light of this week’s bargaining meeting.
“Members would not take this option lightly but prolonged negotiations and repeated rejections of key claims would leave them no choice.
“Employers have also refused at this stage to commit to participating in the Fair Work Commission’s (FWC) New Approaches program should negotiations reach a stalemate.
“Our union remains open and ready to use any option available to us to help finalise a new agreement.”
Mr Hayes said it’s time for members to take a stand and ensure their voice is heard.
“Members are united on the critical issues impacting staff in our schools and they must remain united to achieve a positive outcome in these negotiations.”
Click here to read more about the Bargaining With One Voice campaign.
Image (above): Our employee bargaining team, which provides essential insights at the bargaining table on the reality of working in a Catholic school in 2019. Our team comprises teacher and school officer reps from Diocesan and RI schools.