June 29, 2020
Lutheran Education Queensland (LEQ) has denied union claims that working conditions will be cut or job security threatened in proposed new enterprise agreements at its 26 Queensland schools.
Independent Education Union of Australia – Queensland and Northern Territory (IEUA-QNT) Branch Secretary Terry Burke claimed last week that planned cuts by LEQ to working conditions would put quality education for students at risk.
Mr Burke said planned cuts included:
- Lower wages for some of the most experienced teachers when compared with the majority of the Queensland education sector
- Proposed delays to wage increases which would have compounding negative effects into the future
- Removal of workload safety nets
- Removal of provisions ensuring job security and procedural fairness relating to employment
“LEQ’s planned cuts will result in all other major education employers – State, Catholic and Anglican – offering far superior working conditions,” Mr Burke said.
However, LEQ Executive Director Dennis Mulherin told southburnett.com.au that LEQ was committed to providing a balanced package for its proposed new Enterprise Agreement, incorporating guaranteed increases to salary and conditions for all employees.
“While negotiations are still in progress, the employer offer features a range of proposed increases to terms and conditions for LEQ employees, including a 2.5 per cent annual salary increase over the life of the agreement.
“The financial commitments of LEQ’s proposed offer remain unchanged, despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the education sector and the economy.
“Other proposed changes would remove obsolete information and duplication that make the current Enterprise Agreement unnecessarily complex and out-of-date.
“We strongly believe the proposed changes — both the increases and the removal of outdated references and duplication — reflect the shared interests of employees and employers.
“These are not cuts or constraints to working conditions, and there is no threat to job security or procedural fairness.
“These increases and improvements respond to employee feedback over recent years about areas needing reform, and support the introduction of new career path opportunities, recognition of teaching expertise, and additional workplace flexibility.”
In the South Burnett, LEQ operates St John’s Lutheran School in Kingaroy as well as the Googa and Mt Binga Outdoor Education centres.