The latest round of collective bargaining in the Queensland Lutheran sector has resulted in significant wins for school officers.
Since their inclusion in our union over 30 years ago, school officers have remained a core part of our membership and we are committed to ensuring their working conditions, recognition and remuneration reflect the complex and essential roles they play in schools.
As part of the new agreement (now approved by the Fair Work Commission), the employer has agreed to a Joint Working Party to review the current, outdated classification schedule for school officers.
The review will begin this year and is a significant step in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the current schedule and moving towards a more contemporary one.
School officers will also benefit from a new casual conversion clause which enables ‘regular, casual employees’ other than teachers to request that their employment be converted to either full-time or part-time subject to a number of requirements.
Other provisions benefitting school officers include:
- Clarification on the use of fixed-term contracts.
- Employer obligations over notice of change of work hours.
- Clarification on school officer career progression pathways.
IEU member action made the difference
IEU Organiser Nicole Carlill said IEU members in the Queensland Lutheran sector should be proud of their achievements in this last round of collective bargaining which was characterised by an unprecedented attack on conditions by the employer.
In response, IEU members ran an historic ‘no’ campaign to vote down a flawed employer-proposal that would have cut, controlled and constrained their working conditions.
Following the rejection, the employer returned to the bargaining table and a new agreement was negotiated addressing all the objectives set out in our member-endorsed Charter for the Resolution of Bargaining.
“Members made it clear that they would not accept any employer proposal which would put the future of quality education in their schools at risk by setting standards below the benchmark of state and Catholic working conditions,” Nicole said.
“They were the driving force behind this campaign; securing a significantly better agreement than the initial, flawed proposal and are responsible for ensuring that all employees have adequate working conditions and protections,” she said.
As a result of IEU member action the following provisions were protected:
- Formal review for unsatisfactory performance (Annexure A).
- Serious misconduct and summary dismissal procedures (Annexure B).
- The job security, tenure and wages for Positions of Added Responsibility (PAR).
- Contemporary working conditions for school officers.
Other major wins for all employees
Included in the new collective agreement are a range of enhanced working conditions which will benefit all employers including:
- 2.5% wage increases per year over the lifetime of the agreement for all employees.
- Back pay in two stages from 2019 and 2020.
- Comparable wages for Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher positions.
- Extra preparation and correction time for primary teachers to match the state school-benchmark from 2022.
- 10 days domestic and family violence leave.
- First Nations cultural leave.
- A casual conversion clause.
Chapters set to keep employers accountable
Nicole said IEU members in Lutheran schools would need to keep active and educated on their working rights and employer’s obligations.
“Members need to celebrate their significant and historic wins from this round of collective bargaining, but the campaign doesn’t stop now,” she said.
“The agreement is operational and IEU Chapters in Queensland Lutheran schools will need to remain active to keep their employer accountable to the new agreement and set the standard on what they expect from their employer.
“The easiest way to do this is to invite your non-member colleagues to join our collective, step up into IEU Chapter leadership positions, participate in meetings and educate yourself on your workplace rights.”
IEU members can contact their local organiser for support in setting up their new IEU Chapter leadership positions, for more information on other ways of getting involved in our union or for assistance with the new collective agreement.