Negotiations between Catholic school employers and the Independent Education Union are making good progress and employers are confident that a resolution can soon be reached despite further hour long work stoppages being planned at some Catholic schools next Thursday.
“Employers have continued to listen to the concerns of employees and have further amended their position on a number of significant workload issues,” QCEC Executive Director Dr Lee-Anne Perry said.
“The Union has also acknowledged that there have been positive movements by both parties in relation to some of the outstanding claim items.
“While there are a number of issues that remain unresolved, the constructive nature of the discussions is encouraging and employers remain committed to negotiating a fair and responsible outcome,” Dr Perry said.
Dr Perry said employers had increased their wages increase offer from 2.2% to 2.5% annually over three years and believe this is fair in current market conditions.
“Teachers in Queensland government schools have, from 1 September this year, received the equivalent of a 2.5% increase.
“The wage offer from Catholic school employers ensures that the wages of our staff keep pace with employees in state schools.
“This increase, including back pay, can be paid as soon as the Agreement is successfully balloted. I am hopeful this will be able to occur before Christmas,” she said.
Dr Perry said the most experienced classroom teachers in the Catholic sector have access to the Experienced Teacher 6 allowance.
“Combined with the proposed 2.5% wage increase, these teachers will be earning over $93,000 per annum, which is more than experienced teachers currently earn in NSW Catholic schools.
“NSW Catholic school employees have recently accepted a 2.27% wage increase in the first year of a two year Agreement and a 2.5% wage increase in the second year.
“In this context the 3.25% increase being sought by the Union is out of step with the current market conditions,” Dr Perry said.
Dr Perry said employers have been advised that industrial action in the form of one hour stoppages between 11.00am and 1.00pm may take place at around 177 of Queensland’s 298 Catholic schools next Thursday 22 October.
“The action is not expected to cause 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 there are more than 17,000 teachers and staff employed in Catholic schools in Queensland, and of these, around 25% of all staff voted to take industrial action.
“We are blessed with great teachers and staff across the Catholic sector and I assure you that Catholic school employers recognise and respect their vital contribution.
“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,” Dr Lee-Anne Perry said.
The next Single Bargaining Unit meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 27 October 2015.