QCEC Executive Director Dr Lee-Anne Perry said while Catholic school employers believe that a fair and responsible package of wages and conditions has been offered to staff, they respect the right of employees to take appropriate industrial action.
Dr Perry said employers have been advised that action has been approved at 171 or 57% of Queensland’s 298 Catholic schools in the week commencing 14 September. The action will range from staff wearing badges and not attending staff meetings, to 30 minute and 60 minute work stoppages at the end of nominated school days.
Dr Perry said the industrial action is not expected to cause any major changes to the running of the school day at participating schools.
“However, each school will communicate closely with families as necessary,” she said.
Dr Perry said that while 86% of Union members who voted in the recent ballot approved of taking industrial action, this represented only 46% of all Union members listed on the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) voting roll in Queensland Catholic schools.
“There are more than 17,000 teachers and staff employed in Catholic schools in Queensland meaning around 25% of all staff voted to take action,” she said.
Dr Perry said Queensland Catholic school employers recently offered teachers and staff a 2.5% wages increase that had been rejected by the Union.
“We believe this is a fair and responsible increase taking into account current market conditions, including the capacity of families to pay school fees.
“Catholic school employers strive to fairly recognise and reward teachers and staff for their work.
“Equally, the employers must be responsible managers and operate schools effectively in the best interests of staff, students, and their families.
“It should also be noted that State school teachers have, from 1 September, received a 2.5% increase (pro rata over the next 10 months).
“Catholic school employers are ready to pay the 2.5% wage increases, along with back pay, without further delays.”
Dr Perry says employers have listened, and employee claim items have been discussed at length during Single Bargaining Unit (SBU) meetings over the past five months.
“We are blessed with great teachers and staff across the Catholic sector and Catholic school employers recognise and respect their vital contribution.
“As is the case with most workplaces, we recognise that there are peaks and troughs in the workload of our teachers.
“Employers have provided a clear and considered response to each claim item, in particular by affirming flexibility at local school level to make decisions and arrangements that best suit staffing and resourcing needs,” Dr Lee-Anne Perry said.
Dr Perry said employers will continue to genuinely participate in negotiations with the union in the hope that the proposed outcomes, some already agreed, can be provided to employees for consideration sooner rather than later.