Queensland IEU members celebrate end of campaign

The campaign for improved wages and conditions for Catholic teachers and support staff in Queensland has drawn to a close after an arduous 15 month battle.

Like the NSW and ACT campaign, it was fought under the slogan 3Rs: Recognise, Respect, Reward.

The final outcome has delivered salary equivalence for Catholic school teachers with NSW teachers in diocesan schools, including a new $101,000 top step for classroom teachers.

In 2017 a Queensland beginning teacher in a Catholic diocese will earn $66,375 compared to $65,608 for a NSW teacher. An Experienced 1 teacher will earn $81,896 in Queensland compared to $82,510 in NSW.

Under their proposed new agreement, experienced classroom teachers in Queensland Catholic schools will reach a salary of over $101,000 from 2018 – an increase from the current rate of $86,000.

IEUA-QNT Assistant Secretary Rebecca Sisson and Craig Darlington visited the IEU NSW/ACT recently to share some of the lessons from their campaign.

They said free media coverage, especially in regional and rural Queensland, had been a huge success, with employers struggling to counter it.

Craig said at least 600 stories had appeared in various media outlets during the campaign.

A carefully targeted use of communication, using email, SMS, phone calls, posters etc, had been effective, Rebecca said.

One mistake from the campaign was the adoption of the slogan: ‘They just don’t care’.

Craig said this was aimed at employers, but ended up being turned towards principals, some of whom had since resigned from the IEU. Principals and executives members of schools should have been engaged with much earlier, Craig said.

“We are still working on addressing that.”

Despite a few principals resigning, IEU membership increased by a net of 500 during the campaign.

Craig said it was far from over, with the focus now moving to individual chapters working directly with their principals to negotiate on things like Planning, Preparation and Correction Time (PPCT).

This is known as Relief from Face to Face teaching in NSW primary schools. In Queensland primary teachers get two hours a week and secondary teachers get 20% of their weekly hours.

PPCT is for planning, preparation and correction purposes, not for parent/teacher or other duties. The new provisions stop the loss of PPCT if a scheduled school activity or public holiday fall on a teachers scheduled PPCT periods.

“It puts more of a fence around time used,” Craig said.

Another lesson from the campaign was that more should be done to communicate with parents and get them on side, Rebecca said.