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Home > News > 2019 > September > Win for Toowoomba Grammar School Chapter

Win for Toowoomba Grammar School Chapter

hands_raised_vote_web.jpgThe employer's attempt to implement pay rates at Toowoomba Grammar School has been quashed following planned protected action by Chapter members. 

The action came as members attempted to negotiate a replacement collective agreement with the employer.

The employer chose to ballot an initial Agreement, which did not address employee concerns over proposed dual salary rates for their teacher classification Proficient 8, whereby post-2020, teachers on the same level would be paid different salaries. 

The Chapter demanded their concerns be heard and as a result of collective action, the employer returned to the negotiating table with a revised Agreement, which employees voted in favour of on Tuesday 10 September. 

The new Agreement will now be sent to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for approval ahead of implementation. 

Chapter initiated protected action over initial Agreement ballot

After lengthy negotiations with the employer, the Chapter endorsed a ‘No' vote campaign for the initial employer ballot and applied for a Protected Action Ballot (PAB) in the FWC. 

Before the PAB had closed, the employer issued a revised draft Agreement that addressed the dual classification issue. 

IEUA-QNT organiser, Matthew Kliese said the solidarity demonstrated by the Chapter to stand for their working rights was critical in making the employer reconsider its position. 

“After three months of negotiations, employer inaction and alternate classification models being proposed by employee representatives, the employer refused to consider these models as a way of addressing employee wage concerns,” said Kliese. 

“In the lead up to the initial ballot of the first draft Agreement, members actively used their collective voice to speak with all staff about the issue and its potential negative consequences. 

“The Chapter sent a clear and united message to the employer which was successful in ensuring employee concerns were heard.”

Employer believed different salary for same classification was fair

The dual Proficient 8 classification would have meant that teachers on the same classification level would have been paid different salaries. 

The situation would inevitably have arisen whereby two teachers (one classified Proficient 8 pre-2020 and the other Proficient 8 post-2020) would perform the same duties and be appraised each year using the same AITSL characteristics under the same review process, but would be paid differently. 

The justification provided by the employer was that the post-2020, a Proficient 8 teacher has different classifications available to them with the creation of Highly Accomplished Teacher (HAT) and Lead Teacher classifications. 

Therefore, the employer believed there was no issue with a pay discrepancy of up to $2,800 year-on-year. 

This position raised significant concerns for the Chapter, the most obvious being the concept of the employer declaring a financial concern and targeting a specific employee group to redress it – in this case a group of experienced teachers. 

Chapters have the power to enact change

The action by members at Toowoomba Grammar School demonstrates IEUA-QNT Chapters have the power to enact change when their working conditions and renumeration are diminished. 

Active and engaged Chapter Executives also give members a stronger collective voice when consulting or negotiating with employers. 

For more information about how we can support Chapters in building strong Chapter Executives or establishing School Consultative Committees, contact our union today.  

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