6 September 2019
In this edition: IMRC progress | Work-to-rule | Recruitment | Next steps
Bulletin 6 Sep 2019
The QTU’s genuine intention has always been to resolve the work-to-rule through consultation with the department, and it has consistently articulated a willingness to work with the department via the Instrumental Music Reference Committee. The QTU approaches these meetings knowing that there has been a pattern of behaviour from the department in failing to consult with the QTU on matters related to the work of instrumental music teachers and instructors. While it is evident that there is still a way to go until the department fully understands the unique work that instrumental music teachers/instructors perform every day in Queensland state schools, progress is being made in this space. This is largely due to the representation of your voice at the IMRC by Officers of the QTU who understand the unique and important work instrumental music teachers do, and by the four elected QTU members who share your lived experience.
The IMRC has now met three times to discuss the issues underpinning the work-to-rule. The most recent meeting on Monday 2 September was an additional meeting with the purpose of addressing the list of actions previously tabled by the QTU. The QTU holds to the belief that parts 4 to 9 of the work-to-rule directive can be resolved through authentic consultation processes through the IMRC.
As a direct result of the courage of QTU members employed as instrumental music teachers and instructors in supporting the work to rule directive and continued pressure from the QTU, the department is now attempting to address, as a matter of priority, issues including reporting, QCE matters, collegial engagement and recruitment.
The QTU is hopeful that some matters can be jointly communicated to provide clarity to instrumental music instructors/teachers, coordinators and principals in the coming weeks.
QTU members employed as instrumental music teachers and instructors should be proud of their solidarity in enforcing the QTU work-to-rule directive. Thank you for continuing to stand up for your working conditions this school year. The QTU understands that this isn’t always easy, and in recognition of this, motions of solidarity have been coming in from a range of branches, expressing their support for instrumental music teachers in undertaking the work to rule directive.
Although progress towards resolving the issues behind the work-to-rule is happening at the IMRC, it is slow. Further, the EB9 offer from the department and the new 2019 certified agreement do not resolve the issues. Consequently, the work-to-rule remains in place, with the view that it will be resolved once the department delivers some genuine solutions as a step forward to mitigate factors of workload for instrumental music teachers and instructors.
It is also important to note that while the current scope of the IMRC is to address the issues of workload that underpin the work-to-rule, the IMRC will not dissolve once the work-to-rule has been resolved. The IMRC was secured as an enhanced provision in the Instrumental Music Teachers and Instructors MOA.
In further addressing issues for instrumental music teachers/instructors, instrumental music remains a first item of business for the Workload Advisory Council when it is formed after the ratification of the 2019 certified agreement.
Part 6 of the work-to-rule directs instrumental music teachers/instructors who are members of the Queensland Teachers’ Union to work-to-rule in accordance with the conditions of the industrial instruments, including:
- 6 – not sending recruitment letters, nor showing the recruitment video
The department’s Instrumental Music Program Policy is a document that was created without consultation with the QTU. Changes to the working conditions of teachers outlined in this document are additional claims from the employer that were introduced without consultation with employees’ Union/s. Further, the QTU rejects the Instrumental Music Program Policy because it invents positions that do not exist in the agreed industrial framework. With specific regard to recruitment, there is no agreed role description for a school coordinator, yet the department’s policy assigns eleven responsibilities to this position, including the responsibility for student recruitment. It does not need to be explained to instrumental music teachers/instructors that they are the ones who inevitably end up with this task.
When considering recruiting at the school level, the wording of part 6 of the work to rule is crucial – instrumental music teacher/instructor members are not to send recruitment letters nor show the recruitment video. This does not preclude conducting other work necessary to the future of instrumental music programs.
For now, the QTU reaffirms its willingness to support local school-based conversations to address the matter of workload that underpins the current work-to-rule directive regarding recruitment. In the case of school-leaders allocating additional release time to instrumental music teachers and/or instructors for the purposes of recruitment, such activities could be undertaken. The QTU is aware, however, that the task of recruitment is more complex than changing the date on last year’s letter, running off photocopies and dropping them in classroom teachers’ pigeon holes. Therefore, any local school-based conversations should document all the tasks that will be undertaken across a period of time, and release from teaching and ensembles should be allocated accordingly.
The QTU anticipates a solution from the department pertaining to recruitment in the coming weeks. Members will be advised accordingly.
The school holidays are just around the corner. We know there is much to be done before we get there, but QTU Officers take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank you for the work that you undertake every day, in every school, with all your students. The instrumental music programs of Queensland’s state schools are as incredible as they are because of your hard work and dedication.
We also recognise the courage of our instrumental music teachers and instructors in having sometimes difficult conversations in order to hold the line on our work-to-rule directive.
The QTU’s earnest intention is that the matter of the work-to-rule will be resolved in the near future.
|Louise Loriaux and Mel de Waard
Research officers (Acting)
Authorised by Kate Ruttiman, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union
21 Graham Street, Milton, QLD, Australia, 4064