State Council Report: 14 May 2022
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 127 No number 4, 3 June 2022, page no.4
The May meeting of State Council could finally be held face-to-face, providing an opportunity for delegates to come together to consider a range of current campaigns affecting the future of public education and the teaching profession.
Vale Barry Minter
The General Secretary acknowledged the passing of former QTU Industrial organiser, Barry Minter, the QTU’s itinerant industrial officer between 1974 and 1985 and former member of the board of Teachers’ Union Health.
Farewell and thanks
Senior officers, staff and Council reps gave a standing ovation to Andrew Knott, special Council at Holding Redlich, to thank him for his significant contribution to the union.
Council received and noted the Revenue and Expenses statements as of 31 January, 28 February and 31 March 2022.
Teacher shortage campaign
The QTU has completed a survey of nearly 500 schools to ascertain the extent of the teacher shortage across Queensland.
Members at Sarina SHS and Moranbah SHS held workplace meetings and threatened to take industrial action if staffing shortages were not addressed by the region. The department set up a rapid response team as a short-term solution, however the government needs to increase the locality allowance in line with increased cost of living to attract people to these remote and rural centres.
Council reaffirmed its support for self-selected schools to ballot members to stop work in relation to ongoing teacher shortages.
There is an increasing number of teachers on Permission to Teach (PTT) registration working in schools, which in turn decreases the number of teachers available in the pool on graduation. The QTU will be seeking an urgent meeting with the Queensland College of Teachers and the department to discuss this emerging issue.
Federal election campaign
Council heard a report on the importance of the federal election and the need to ensure more funding for every child in every school.
Delegates received a verbal update on the progress of EB10 negotiations and there was debate around whether some of the interest areas were more important than others. Ultimately, Council affirmed that acceptance of any offer made in settlement of the EB must meet the QTU interest of Queensland teachers and school leaders being among the highest paid in the county, with salary increases to accommodate for cost-of-living increases. The offer must also address the teacher shortage, as well as attracting and retaining teachers to rural, remote, and regional schools. Council endorsed QTU involvement in any statewide campaign to support improvements in the state wage policy, currently 2.5 per cent.
Council heard a report on the QTU’s success in obtaining access to rapid antigen tests for teachers who become unwell. The public health direction is due to expire on 24 June, and the department is contacting employees on leave to ask them to update their medical advice. The directive is usually extended within 24 hours of its expiry date.
Clear advice should be sent to schools about appropriate adjustments to service delivery and workload so that breaches of industrial conditions are avoided. Council called on the department to centrally fund flu vaccines for all teachers and other school staff annually.