QTU President comments, 21 September 2012

No, Minister; no, Minister; no, Minister; no, Minister; yes, Minister

Over the past 24 hours, since the news broke that QTU members had voted to take industrial action in protest against the Government’s one “take it or leave it” offer that links a pay rise to the loss of more than 20 conditions, Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek has made some frankly odd comments in response.

Here are a few of the Minister’s comments, with corrections or clarifications from the QTU.

  1. Minister: teachers will lose a day’s pay but the QTU Executive won’t.
    QTU:
    the QTU Executive is comprised of 14 elected officials who are all practising education professionals in schools and TAFE, and five senior officers who are also QTU members. All will “lose a day’s pay”, and all think it’s worth it to protect conditions won over more than 18 years of hard bargaining and campaigning.
  2. Minister: a strike won’t achieve anything because negotiations are in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.
    QTU:
    due to the Government’s own new IR laws, the protected action ballot has taken 12 weeks to conduct, with the process beginning before the Department of Education, Training and Employment took the matter to the QIRC. Industrial action is a last resort by teachers and principals to force the Government to listen, and it is the right of workers to act collectively.
  3. Minister: the timing of the strike is bad, being on the “first day back of term 4”. QTU: maybe in some private schools, but not in state schools. It’s on the second day of the second week.
  4. Minister: the QTU used to agree that we shouldn’t be discussing conditions, just pay.
    QTU:
    this is an ongoing line from the Minister that is apparently based on one radio interview, and persists in twisting the point that a pay rise shouldn’t be linked to a stripping away of protections around conditions. The QTU has already addressed this particular line (Read the QTU President's comments).
  5. Minister: the QTU is misleading the public about class size targets being threatened because “I’m confident that we will have the number of teachers that we need to maintain our class sizes because it is actually in our current agreement anyway.”
    QTU:
    Yes Minister, that has been the whole point throughout months of negotiations. We too will be more confident about conditions that are protected in industrial instruments, but we have no trust in this Government to protect anything that is a matter of “policy”. And there is the small issue of the State Budget shortfall in funding for enrolment growth (Read the QTU's media release and Members' Newsflash).

Kevin Bates
QTU President