TEACHER FEATURE: Catholic teachers strike in Ipswich in 2015. There were no strikes in the Western Downs at this time.
TEACHER FEATURE: Catholic teachers strike in Ipswich in 2015. There were no strikes in the Western Downs at this time. Inga Williams

State teachers threaten strike as Catholics settle

SIX months after strikes across Queensland's Catholic schools, Catholic school staff in Queensland have voted in favour of a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement.

The agreement includes an annual 2.5 per cent pay increase - an amount the Independent Education Union of Australia rejected in February, and that the Queensland Teacher's Union is urging its state school members to strike over.

For the QTU, it will be the first strike action seen since 2009.

The union wants teachers to vote for an unlimited number of statewide stoppages.

If the Electoral Commission vote passes, state school teachers could be walking off the job this month if the State Government does not offer them more than a 2.5 per cent pay increase.

However, it seems educators in the Catholic sector are happy with the deal, after 18 months of negotiations with the Independent Education Union and the Fair Work Commission.

Queensland Catholic Education Commission Executive Director Lee-Anne Perry said around 95 per cent of staff who voted supported the new four-year agreement.

"Staff in 300 Catholic schools around the state have recognised that the four-year agreement is a fair outcome for all staff,” Dr Perry said.

"They have been very patient through a lengthy negotiation process and I want to thank them.”

Dr Perry said the agreement meant staff would receive wage increases back-dated to mid-2015.

"Now that the agreement has been accepted, school authorities will begin work on processing back pay as soon as is practicable,” she said.

The wage increase comes with a commitment to match the wage increase provided to teachers employed by the Queensland Department of Education and Training.

The increase will be back-dated to July 1, 2015 for teachers and May 1, 2015 for school officers and services staff.

There will also be a number of one-off increases to the base amounts paid in many teacher classifications, to be back-dated to July 1, 2016.

There will also be a review of the teacher classification structure with a view to implementing any changes by July 1, 2018.

This review will be supervised by the Fair Work Commission and will give consideration to the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) Australian Professional Standards for Teachers including the Highly Accomplished Teacher and Lead Teacher classifications.

"The agreement recognises the distinct nature of Queensland's Catholic education sector and recognises the hard work of all our staff who provide outstanding learning opportunities for young Queenslanders in Catholic schools,” Dr Perry said.


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