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Home > News > 2020 > February > Employers must address remaining employee issues to resolve negotiations

Employers must address remaining employee issues to resolve negotiations

Bargaining_with_one_voice.pngMechanisms to address workload and work intensification, wages, as well as matters related to middle leaders and school counsellors must be addressed by Queensland Catholic school employers in order to resolve the current collective bargaining negotiations.

The first negotiation meeting for 2020 with Queensland Catholic employers took place on Tuesday, 11 February, with a further meeting scheduled for late February.

IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said that further clarifications and determination from Queensland Catholic school employers were now essential if there was to be any possibility of a negotiated resolution.

“While progress is slow, our union continues to bargain with one voice on the final remaining priority issues,” Mr Burke said.

“In light of the employers’ further consideration of these matters, we recommend that the current suspension of industrial action be maintained,” he said.

Mr Burke said our union has been consistently highlighting to the employers the remaining employee issues since early November 2019.

Workload and work intensification 

  • Workload/work intensification: Discussion continues regarding mechanisms that would provide an employee forum to identify meaningful interventions on workload. Any such mechanisms must provide genuine consultation opportunities that deliver identified and enforceable outcomes. The direct involvement of school level employees is a threshold issue.   
  • Primary teacher planning preparation and correction time (PPCT): In response to our claim, the employers have now confirmed their preparedness to classify the 30-minutes of reduced contact time as PPCT. However, the employers have flagged a possible change to the current PPCT clause to acknowledge collaborative planning duties. Any such change would need to be carefully considered by employees to maintain the integrity of current PPCT protections for primary teachers.
  • Collaborative planning days: In another partial employer concession, the employers have agreed in-principle to the formalisation of two collaborative planning days per year (or equivalent) where they are not currently provided. However, the employer position limits the application of this time to only secondary school teachers.

 Wages and salaries 

  • One-off payment: Both the employee and employer representatives continue to explore both the scope and amount of the one-off lump sum payment. We have reiterated our employee position that the scope of any such payment should be maximised to ensure the widest possible application of the payment. 
  • Introduction of a new ’Proficient 9’ teacher classification: Any employer proposal for a four-year agreement would necessitate the development of a new Proficient 9 classification given the introduction of a comparable position in the state sector in 2022. 
  • Back-payment of wages: While several wage matters require further employer clarification and determination, the full back-payment of wages from 1 May 2019 (school officers and services staff) and 1 July 2019 (teachers) remains a fundamental employee position.  

Middle leadership positions in primary schools  

  • Primary middle leaders: We have tabled a revised position seeking to provide the formalisation and enforceability of primary school middle leader arrangements in the agreement. The employers have responded that a review of current contractual arrangements for such roles could provide a comparable outcome; however, no written details of such an initiative have yet been provided by the employers. 

School counsellors 

  • Salary and career structure: Employees again highlighted the inadequacies of the current school counsellor salary and career structure and the growing disparity of arrangements between BCE schools, other Queensland Catholic schools and the public sector. For their part, the employers remain unwilling or unable to address glaring deficiencies in the counsellor pay scale. 

Member campaign continues to deliver agreed outcomes

Mr Burke said IEUA-QNT member action in 2019 delivered a number of significant outcomes.

“While several key priorities remain, members should be commended for the collective efforts that have already achieved so much for Catholic school employees,” he said.

For the latest news on the Bargaining With Once Voice campaign visit: www.qieu.asn.au/onevoice

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