Industrial action at Al Siraat College
The bargaining dispute at Al Siraat College (an Islamic school in the norther suburbs of Melbourne), and industrial action has commenced as IEU members are left with no other option given their employer’s ongoing refusal to negotiate. After rejecting almost everything on the employee log of claims and on two subsequent compromise proposals, the college informed bargaining reps that a non-union ‘agreement’ would be drafted for a vote.
After several months we still haven’t seen any sign of this document, but IEU members at Al Siraat are not prepared to sit around waiting for a document which we understand will contain:
- wages over $13,000 behind parity for experienced teachers
- barriers to automatic progression up the salary scale
- deeply inadequate personal leave provisions, and
- no paid parental leave, workload limits, consultation provisions, accident make-up pay, paid domestic violence leave, arbitration rights… the list goes on!
A first successful industrial action took place in July, when teachers handed out letters to parents explaining the dispute. The response from the parental community has been extraordinarily supportive, which is a huge testament to the sincerity of the message from teachers that for Al Siraat to be a great place for students to learn, it also needs to be a great place to work.
There has also been increasing media interest in the dispute, particularly following revelations that some teaching staff had been paid several thousand dollars below award rates. At Victorian Joint Council in August, IEU reps from over 100 Victorian schools unanimously endorsed the following resolution:
“IEU Joint Council congratulates members of the Al Siraat sub branch for their strength and determination in campaigning for fair conditions and salaries. Council condemns the college’s current proposal, which contains salaries over $13,000 behind the industry standard, critically inadequate personal leave provisions and no paid parental leave. The college’s refusal to negotiate on these crucial matters shows an alarming lack of respect for our profession. Council calls on Al Siraat College to immediately return to the bargaining table to constructively negotiate an Agreement which values the vital work of teachers.”
At the time of writing, further industrial action is planned unless the college agrees to return to negotiations.
From VicTas Branch
Our Working History with Senator Pat Dodson
IEUA WA Branch is actively promoting UnionsWA’s important event Our Working History to its membership, especially to Indigenous members. IEUA WA Branch member and IEU representative to the ACTU Indigenous Committee, Maxine Brahim, has been instrumental in the organisation and promotion of this event. On 27 August, UnionsWA hosted an event with keynote speaker Senator Patrick Dodson who presented engaging information and images of the working history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Western Australia.
WA Branch supports teacher assistants conference
IEUA WA Branch was a gold sponsor of the 2019 West Australian Association of Teacher Assistants 2019 Conference on 16-18 August. With the appointment of two new IEU education assistants, the Branch is focusing on attracting and supporting this important cohort within its membership even more effectively. Education assistants’ unique needs are often overlooked by their schools and the IEUA WA Branch is gaining strength and numbers to represent their requirements, which will hopefully lead to better conditions and fairer pay for this critical component of any school community.
From WA Branch
After 14 months of negotiations, IEUA-QNT members at Langports English College in Brisbane are still no closer to having their first collective agreement, as the employer refuses to budge on key member claims.
IEU representatives have now attended two conferences in the Fair Work Commission (FWC) over the past month, but the results of these conferences have been very limited and highly frustrating for members, with the employer providing little resolution.
The key claims member have been fighting to address during negotiations include:
- Fair wage increases
- Recognition for paid marking and preparation for casuals
- Fair dispute resolution provisions for employees.
Teachers in the ELICOS industry are some of the most casualised, insecure and underpaid workers in the education sector in Australia, with many of these vastly experienced teachers earning less than a first year graduate in a Catholic school.
Langports is also refusing to recognise the preparation and marking their casual teachers perform and have continuously stated that they will not offer a wage increase which is higher than the bare minimum of the Award.
In May, Langports English College in Brisbane became the first employer in the Queensland Education sector to lock teachers out without pay, simply for taking protected industrial action.
The protected action, which involved wearing a 3R’s Recognise, Respect, Reward badge and taking a 30-minute stop work action, resulted in members being locked out for up to three days without pay.
There has been no consideration by the employer of the negative effects this is having on the teachers and their families, the students or the culture within the workplace
Our union launched a GoFund Me page to assist Langports members with the financial consequences of being locked out by their employer, which raised over $3,500.
The teachers at Langports have been overwhelmed by the extensive signs of solidarity they have been shown and are extremely thankful for the ongoing support as their negotiations continue.
Langports teachers are currently not taking any protected industrial action whilst the FWC conferences continue, allowing both parties to negotiate as a sign of good faith and respect for the Commission.
However, the threat of an extended lock out for members who partake in further protected action at Langports still looms, demonstrating the stark imbalance of industrial power employers have over employees.
IEUA-QNT will soon be attending a third conference with the employer in the Fair Work Commission.
To read more about our “Langports, learn the 3Rs” campaign www.qieu.asn.au/campaign-updates/langports-learn-the-3rs/.
From QNT Branch