Monday 8 April 2013

Teachers and principals will be heard on education changes

The Queensland Teachers’ Union has today reminded the Queensland Government that changes to state school teachers’ and principals’ working conditions can only proceed with agreement from those same teachers and principals.

QTU President Kevin Bates said the Government had failed to consult with the Union before announcing the changes to a wide range of conditions, including teachers’ career progression and fixed-term contracts for principals, despite the fact that the QTU represents 44,000 members, which is 96 per cent of workers eligible to join the Union.

“The most efficient way for the Government to consult with the professional educators it employs is to consult with the union that represents the vast majority of those employees.

“The current certified agreement with the Government runs until 31 August, 2015 and so continues to protect pay and conditions for our members in all schools, including independent public schools,” Mr Bates said.

“The principle of ‘no further claims’ is the industrial guarantee that ensures such agreements are meaningful.

“As the law still stands in Queensland, it is only through the next round of enterprise bargaining negotiations that any changes can be brought to the table – those negotiations are required to begin 1 June, 2015.”

Mr Bates said a number of the changes announced today had been rejected by the Government in the last round of enterprise bargaining negotiations, settled in November last year.

“For example, the QTU had put forward an enhanced mentoring program and reduced teaching load for new teachers, but this was rejected by the Government – in fact, it attempted to freeze their pay for three years.

“Similarly, the QTU had put on the bargaining table a proposal for professional pay, in keeping with the new national standards, but this was also rejected – now we see the Government proposing a new classification of 'Master Teacher' ."

Mr Bates said today’s announcements would become the focus of a major consultation process with the QTU’s members, as part of the usual process in developing the QTU’s log of claims.

For further comment from Kevin Bates, call 3512 9000 or 0400 500 393