Queensland’s Catholic schools to remain open despite proposed industrial action

23/02/2016

Queensland’s Catholic schools are expected to remain open on Thursday during the latest stop-work action in enterprise bargaining negotiations.

The Queensland Catholic Education Commission said it had been advised by its members that all schools would remain open despite full-day strike action by some staff.

At this stage the only closures will be at five Flexi Learning Centres which are part of the Edmund Rice Education Australia network.

QCEC, the peak body for Catholic education across the state, said some schools had requested that parents keep children home if possible but all schools would provide supervision should parents have no other option.

Queensland has 300 Catholic schools, employing 19,000 staff and more than 146,000 students.

“Our member organisations have told us that their schools will be open,” QCEC Executive Director Dr Lee-Anne Perry said.

“Some schools will offer limited programs or supervision but we have been told that all will be open, which is important to minimise disruption to parents and students.

“Three-quarters of staff across the state’s Catholic schools did not vote in favour of this latest industrial action.

“We respect the rights of employees to take this industrial action but employers have tabled a fair offer in these negotiations.”

Thursday will be the eighth stop-work action in the enterprise bargaining negotiations, which began in March last year.

Employers continue to offer an annual wage increase of 2.5 per cent – the equivalent to the most recent increase paid to state school teachers.

Earlier this month, the union changed its demand from an across-the-board increase of 3.25 per cent to an amount varying from 2.53 per cent to 4.48 per cent in the first year depending on a teacher’s classification.

Dr Perry said the employers’ offer, which includes backpay, remained open to all employees.

“This is a fair offer in the Queensland schools environment,” Dr Perry said.

“The union’s continued comparisons to New South Wales are not relevant. For example, both states have different starting and finishing times across the year.

“We’re working in the Queensland marketplace. Employers have always maintained that they will match any increase provided to Queensland’s state school teachers to ensure a level playing field across the state.”

Each school will advise parents of arrangements relating to their particular school.

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For further information please contact 07 3316 5870.

Visit www.eb8.qcec.catholic.edu.au for all details about Enterprise Bargaining 8.