Catholic school employers seek EB resolution

22 November 2019

Queensland Catholic school employers have today written to all teachers and school staff to outline an offer to resolve the current enterprise bargaining negotiations.

Queensland Catholic Education Commission Executive Director Dr Lee-Anne Perry said employers had made a fair offer to resolve negotiations so schools can continue to focus on delivering high quality education.

The offer to staff includes a 2.5 per cent general wage increase (above the inflation rate of 1.7 per cent), backpay to 1 July for teachers and 1 May for school officers and a one off $500 payment to eligible staff in return for signing on to a four-year enterprise agreement.

The package also includes extra benefits for Middle and Senior Leaders and Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers, reduced classroom contact time for primary school teachers, enhanced parental leave and cultural leave arrangements and consultative meetings with employers to discuss workload issues.

Dr Perry said employers had written to all employees to explain the entire package of wages and conditions being offered.

“This offer would see our graduate teachers start on a salary of $71,833 increasing with experience and proficiency to our highest paid classroom teachers earning $128,140 per year,” she said.

“The $500 payment and backpay up to the end of November would represent significant payments to many teachers and staff.”

Dr Perry said the approach taken by the Queensland Independent Education Union to date in negotiations is putting backpay for staff at risk

She said with this offer on the table, employers had also advised teachers and staff that employers had a duty to look at ways to limit the impact of further protected industrial action to ensure schools continued to operate effectively and safely.

“Our job is to operate schools to provide a high-quality education for young people and support their wellbeing. We know our staff share that aim.

“We respect the right of employees to take industrial action and schools make individual arrangements at the local level to cope with protected action.

“However, employers also have to look at ways they can limit the impacts on learning and student wellbeing within the industrial frameworks.

“It is impossible to keep schools functioning at their best with the disruption caused by work bans and strike action.

“Employers want all staff to come to school and carry out their normal duties so they can make the maximum contribution to student learning.

“But employers are now in a position where they can’t be confident all staff will fully take part in the vital preparation days at the start of the next school year.”

Dr Perry said the current offer would expire on 27 November to encourage the timely resolution of negotiations with the union by the end of the school year.

“Our clearly stated position is that employers want to provide staff an opportunity to vote on a proposed agreement as soon as possible and that position has not changed since the beginning of negotiations in May this year.

“We have engaged in the enterprise bargaining process in good faith, offering fair and reasonable conditions for staff that keep Catholic education sustainable and affordable for families,” Dr Perry said.