It was clear from the EB debate at the QTU Conference (as it was in the QTU Member Needs Survey earlier this year) that excessive and increasing workload remains the most pressing issue for members.
Yet it is equally clear that EB bargaining alone will never be sufficient to address the issue. Recent years have seen workload continuing to increase, despite the introduction of a raft of measures specifically designed to address it in the 2016 EB agreement.
They included the clarification of the use of non-contact time; the exceptional circumstances consideration regarding class sizes; NCT protection for associate administrators; the requirement for LCCs to consider workload, joint statements on data and NAPLAN, and more.
A different and sustained approach is required to address the causes of workload at multiple levels: national, state, regional, school and personal.
While the Union supports wellbeing strategies, the objective is to reduce workload to reasonable levels rather than to apply Band-Aids to the effects of excessive workload.
The proposed Workload Advisory Council offers a mechanism to identify and address the causes of workload, and the QTU has already written to the government and the department (https://www.qtu.asn.au/eb9-letter-workload-050719) calling for it to be fast-tracked, and for its work to commence immediately.
The Workload Advisory Council is also aligned to the Queensland Government delivering on an election commitment to review workload. In correspondence to the Minister in May (https://www.qtu.asn.au/eb9/minister-workload), the QTU called on the government to commence the review.
It was clear that its scope needs to go beyond “red tape reduction” matters and treating the symptoms of excessive workload to addressing the causes.
The QTU advised the Minister that, without limiting the scope of the review, it should: “Canvass the impact of cascading sometimes contradictory, expectations of the work of principals and teachers; realistic evaluation of workload impacts in the decision making for introduction of initiatives; unproductive or low value contributors to workload that should be removed; and mechanisms to challenge the imposition of excessive workload at a local and systemic level.”
It is these principles that will inform the QTU’s representatives consideration of matters at the WAC.
Expect to see a renewed and increasingly vigorous campaign to reduce workload in coming months and over the next two years.
Workload Wednesday 24 July 2019