Is your LCC in need of a tune-up?
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 126 No 3, 9 April 2021, page no.10
Local consultative committees (LCC) are nothing new. They have been around in schools since 1994. But the conversations we need to be having are around their functionality. You need to ask yourself the question, is my LCC effective?
One of the QTU priorities for 2021 is workplace organisation, with a keen focus on Union Reps and LCCs.
Many of you have an LCC in your school. LCCs are a union/management committee responsible for effective change management within the school. The LCC consists of four management positions (selected by the principal, including the principal) and four union representatives – two QTU, one Together, one United Workers’ Union. Under the terms of the certified agreement, all workplaces with 20 or more employees should have one, but where there are fewer than 20 employees, consultation is necessary on issues that would be considered by an LCC in a larger school.
From recent workplace visits and attending the QTU Union Reps Conference, it is clear that discussions with members on the topic of LCCs are popular. Consensus, workload management, agreement, proposals, staffing flexibility, workplace reforms and disputes, these are words we often hear members asking for clarification on. So, what do all of these things mean?
Having worked in several schools in the past 10 years, I have observed some noticeable differences in LCCs in both functionality and effectiveness. So how do you determine if your LCC is an effective one?
The LCC should be used as a vehicle for consultation. The role of the LCC is to initiate, implement, review and dis/continue changes within the school. Consultation is not a mere exchange of information at a staff meeting and saying if you have an issue, come and discuss it. Effective consultation occurs when the proposal is outlined to members, with time to consider and raise questions/feedback to the Union Reps and school leadership team, in the knowledge that the position of members will be considered when making the final decision around the proposal.
On the other hand, the LCC provides QTU members with an opportunity to flag particular workload issues within the workplace with management. This can occur at a regular meeting between Union Reps and administration to ensure open and transparent consideration of arising matters. The role of the QTU reps on the LCC is to represent and advocate for the views of members.
Some suggested strategies for developing a culture of effective consultation include building positive working relationships between the union rep team and management team, ensuring that all voices and perspectives have been heard (remembering that, as a union rep, it is the collective view of the members that you represent), reviewing policies regularly, and developing appropriate timelines for pre-meetings, agenda setting and consultation. Members need to contribute to the decision-making process, not only in appearance, but in fact.
The QTU has published a Guide for Consultation, which is available on the QTU website. We also provide training and workshops through the QTEC program. Your school or branch may also ask your Organiser to provide LCC training at a meeting, to add to what you already know and to enhance current practice.
The QTU is hearing many stories from many schools where effective LCCs have made an impact on workload for members, and this should be celebrated. As part of the “Respect for the profession” and “Workload reduction” campaigns, the QTU would really like to hear about your LCC and the strategies you have used in your workplace to make a real difference in achieving change. Please share your story to email@example.com so we can share it (with you and your school’s permission) with our membership and followers. I look forward to hearing about the great things that are happening in schools.