Parents warned of threat to quality education from LEQ cuts
For the first time in the history of Queensland Lutheran collective bargaining, our union has written to the Parents & Friends’ of each Queensland Lutheran school to alert them to the significant threats to quality education posed by Lutheran Education Queensland’s (LEQ) plan to cut working conditions for school staff.
Our union has taken this unprecedented step due to the serious threat to the working conditions of teachers and school support staff proposed by LEQ in its new, draft agreement.
An attack on working conditions is an attack on quality education
From the very beginning of negotiations, it was clear LEQ wanted to cut, control and constrain the working conditions of every Lutheran school employee.
A number of LEQ’s proposed cuts will negatively impact wages and job security for employees, resulting in all other major education employers – state, Catholic and Anglican – offering far superior working conditions.
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said parents of Queensland Lutheran school students needed to understand that an attack on the working conditions of employees was an attack on quality education.
“We know parents and carers choose to send their children to a high-quality school to give them the best start in life,” Mr Burke said.
“LEQ’s proposed cuts to workload safety nets and the removal of provisions ensuring job security and procedural fairness related to employment will also have impacts for quality education.
“Instead of being able to securely focus on what they do best, Lutheran school teachers and support staff will be faced with a new reality of uncertainty, stress and doubt when they enter the school grounds each day.”
Most experienced teachers will be under-valued and undermined
Mr Burke said parents and carers should also be concerned by LEQ’s plan to pay the most experienced teachers far less than their counterparts in other sectors across the state.
“For these teachers, who have achieved national recognition as Highly Accomplished Teachers or Lead Teachers, LEQ’s lack of care to provide them with the contemporary rates of pay that their experience and knowledge deserve, will leave them questioning their future in Queensland Lutheran schools.
LEQ is also planning on making cuts which will undermine the role and security of Pastoral and Curriculum Leaders in Queensland Lutheran Schools.
Mr Burke said these members of the Lutheran school community are essential to the smooth running of these schools as well as an important conduit between students and parents when it comes to the application of the curriculum and Lutheran Church values.
“This will surely have an impact on the culture of Queensland Lutheran schools – one which will be felt by staff, students and parents alike,” Mr Burke said.
Cuts, controls and constraints against values of Lutheran Church
These cuts are fundamentally at odds with the teachings and values of the Lutheran Church.
LEQ claims to ‘offer an inspired, Christian educational experience that sets our students apart’ and its plan for employees will certainly set it apart as an employer for all the wrong reasons.
Our members have started to publicly call on LEQ to stop the cuts and return to the negotiating table – they want answers as to why LEQ are doing this now, especially after the hard work and dedication staff have shown throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
Mr Burke asked Queensland Lutheran school parents & families to also call on LEQ to stop the cuts to working conditions in order to protect quality education.
Add your voice to the fight for fair working rights – members urged to VOTE NO
Mr Burke said there were some immediate steps that could be taken to help protecting the working conditions and quality education in Queensland Lutheran schools.
“Members of our union, LEQ staff and members of the school community can sign our petition calling on LEQ to stop the cuts, controls and constraints.
“Members should also encourage any non-member colleagues to join our union and add their voice to the fight to keep their working rights and ensure their working conditions match contemporary standards.
“IEUA-QNT members working in Queensland Lutheran schools should also attend the urgent state-wide meeting next Thursday, 23 July at 3:30pm.
“This will be an opportunity to ask questions about the proposed employer agreement and what impacts that will have on everyday working life.
RSVP by emailing Di Hurst via email@example.com with your name and school and/or membership number.
“Finally, LEQ employees – IEUA-QNT members and non-members alike – need to VOTE ‘NO’ in any upcoming employer ballot.
“It’s time for Lutheran school employees to let LEQ know that they will not be undervalued nor undermined when it comes to fair working conditions and providing quality education,” Mr Burke said.
For more information about the planned cuts and the impact for school staff and students, please go to www.qieu.asn.au/stopthecuts
Image: IEUA-QNT members in Queensland Lutheran Schools calling on LEQ to STOP THE CUTS, CONTROLS AND CONSTRAINTS in a state-wide meeting last month.