Addressing workload remains critical issue as Queensland Lutheran negotiations continue
While Lutheran Education Queensland (LEQ) has made some concessions regarding proposed cuts to working conditions and agreed to a number of employee claims, issues related to addressing workload still remain unresolved.
At the latest collective bargaining meeting held in mid-February 2020, LEQ stepped back from its proposed plan for wholesale cuts to Positions of Added Responsibility (PAR) schedule, having listened to the concerns of IEUA-QNT members since the last meeting.
Whilst welcoming this development, employees note that there is no guarantee that the existing quantum of points in each Lutheran school will be maintained.
More work is needed by LEQ if PARs are not to find themselves worse off under the employer proposal.
IEUA-QNT Industrial Services Coordinator Chris Seymour said the employer concession was a win for members but that other proposed cuts were tabled as part of the employer claim.
“Strong and active membership in IEUA-QNT Chapters remains essential to maintaining our bargaining strength and protecting working conditions still at risk in Queensland Lutheran schools,” Mr Seymour said.
Employer cuts would add to work intensification woes
In a win for members, LEQ has agreed to the provision of increased non-contact time for primary school teachers – taking this time from 2 hours to 2.5 hours from 1 January 2022.
While this goes towards addressing workload issues for primary teachers, no additional time is proposed for secondary teachers as is the employee claim.
LEQ has instead confirmed in writing that it wants to see conditions cut from Schedule 7 (Working Arrangements for Teachers) and that this pared back schedule be applicable to all teachers in Lutheran Schools.
Currently Schedules 8 and 9 contain enhanced conditions; however, under the employer claim Schedules 8 and 9 would be cut from a new agreement.
The short-sighted employer 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.
Procedural fairness and natural justice still at risk for all employees
LEQ has maintained their position to have the following provisions removed from the collective agreement and placed in school-based policies:
- Annexure B Formal Review of Unsatisfactory Performance.
- Annexure C Serious Misconduct and Summary Dismissal.
- Annexure D Complaints Handling Policy and Procedures.
Cutting these from the agreement and putting them in school-based policies means the employer has complete control over the document which they can draft, review and edit at any time after the collective agreement has been finalised.
It would mean that these provisions would no longer be subject to the industrial protection provided by their inclusion in a collective agreement.
The employer’s proposed cuts could mean procedural fairness and natural justice for all employees is put at risk.
Highly Accomplished Teacher (HAT) and Lead Teacher schedule unresolved
The employee claim recognises that all nationally recognised HAT and Lead Teachers receive a substantive salary, and where they are requested to undertake additional duties, there will be discounting of normal duties to allow time for the additional work.
The employer position remains that these employees receive their teacher classification and an allowance once recognised as a HAT or Lead Teacher, resulting in different salary outcomes for nationally recognised HAT and Lead Teachers.
Enhanced domestic violence and long service leave provisions
The employer has agreed to the employee claim for paid domestic violence to become a provision within the collective agreement – with negotiation now underway to ensure this provision is for ten (10) days paid domestic violence leave, as per the employee claim, as opposed to the employer’s current offer of five (5) days.
LEQ has also agreed to the employee claim for a new provision which would enable employees to seek re-crediting of long service leave as sick leave after five (5) calendar days should they suffer illness or injury during their long service leave, rather than the current ten (10) days.
School officer discussions underway
Preliminary discussion has been initiated for a review of Schedule 10 School Officer Classifications, in which employees want consideration of appropriate remuneration, classifications, the 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 school officer issues.
For the latest Queensland Lutheran collective bargaining visit: www.qieu.asn.au/lutheran