9 August 2016 : No.22-16
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Salaries in new offer clarified

There has been some confusion about the new salary offer as a result of media reports emphasising the base 2.5% p.a. increase. For classroom teachers, the actual increases are higher.

For Experienced Senior Teachers, the increases are 3.1% p.a. for the three years taking the salary from $92,113 to $101,000 on 1 July, 2018. Increases of 2.5% would have resulted in a final salary of $99,195.

For other steps on the classroom teacher scale, the increases range from 2.9% to 4.2% in July, 2018 after increases of 2.5% in 2016 and 2017. This results in salaries equal to or better than those recently negotiated in Queensland Catholic schools.

A table setting out the salaries and salary increases over the next three years has been published on the QTU website. 

EST

The new offer also includes earlier access to the Experienced Senior Teacher classification. Currently, access occurs after four years on Senior Teacher for four year trained teachers (seven for three year trained). In 2017, this will be reduced to three years (six for three year trained) and in 2018 to two years (five for three year trained). That is the difference in 2018 of two more years on $101,000 rather than the Senior Teacher salary of $97,297. That benefits everyone still at Senior Teacher or below.

The government would not agree to the removal with all current processes associated with progression to Senior Teacher and EST. The new offer includes an agreement to review the processes to streamline them and to align them with professional standards. The Union’s view is that these processes will become superfluous with the introduction of highly accomplished and lead teacher classifications.

Beginning teachers

The salary for beginning teachers has been increased to $66022 from 1 July, 2016, based on the abolition of the current Band 2 Step1 and new teachers starting on the current Band 2 Step2.

Transition arrangements mean that those currently on Band 2 Step 1 move to Band 2 Step 2 on 1 July, 2016 which becomes the teacher’s new increment date.

Combined with the changes in access to EST, new teachers will be able to access EST after 10 years instead of the current 13.

Promotional positions

The salary increases for promotional positions remain at 2.5% p.a. What has changed in the new offer is a commitment to a review of the promotional classification structure to be completed by December 2018. This was the last concession made by the government in negotiations and was not easily extracted because of its future cost.

The existing classification structure has been in place for over 25 years and is past its use-by date. A proper review takes some time (the last took four years to complete) and cannot be conducted in the middle of EB negotiations.

The review will take into account the effects of school complexity and needs-based funding and staffing on the classification structure. The creation of the highly accomplished and lead teacher classifications and the establishment of salary levels in 2018 will also influence the outcomes of the review.

There is no doubt that those in promotional positions deserve additional increases. The QTU asked for even a 1% additional increase as a down payment on the results of the review but this was rejected by the government due to the additional cost. Several agreements in the past have had differential increases for promotional positions. On this occasion, the differential increases will apply to classroom teachers.

Other changes in the new offer

The other significant change in the new offer is improved processes for and commitment to maximisation of permanency and the conversion of temporary teachers to permanent – a matter of significant importance to all members as well as those directly affected but little cost. A communique to temporary teachers provides further information on these changes. 

The other parts of the agreement are also available in detail on the QTU website. 

Considering the offer

QTU members will consider the new offer in a school-based ballot similar to that recently conducted concerning industrial action. This will be conducted at a school level by school Union Reps or other authorised QTU members and will decide whether the QTU accepts the offer. The QTU Executive is recommending acceptance but the decision is ultimately up to members voting in the ballot.

Ballot materials are being prepared and will hopefully be distributed this week.


 Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union