No end in sight for Carinity dispute
AFTER more than a year of back and forth over staff enterprise agreements, a Nikenbah school's staff feel they have no other option left than to strike for the fourth time.
About 10 Hervey Bay teachers and support staff walked off the job at Carinity Education Glendyne following ongoing disputes with their employer.
The Baptist Queensland out-reach school and staff supported by Independent Education Union Queensland have been locked in a fierce tug-of-war for the last 14 months over proposed changes.
Shouting from one side of the divide, the union claimed "cuts to community-standard working conditions including superannuation, long service leave and redundancy provisions.”
On the other, a Carinity spokesman said "the changes proposed simply bring some conditions into line with community standards.”
"It appears the Union wants all agreements to be the same and this is against the principle of enterprise bargaining which has seen Carinity Education staff receive wages and conditions far superior to the Award, the spokesman said
"The Union's one-hour stoppage will not put our students at risk and lessons will continue as usual.”
As neither side is backing down and recent table negotiations were fruitless, therapeutic youth worker at Carinity Deagan Bunting said it was time for a solution and to let the case go to Fair Work Australia for arbitration.
"Every time a new agreement is voted down by not just us in the Fraser Coast but all staff across Carinity's four sites, the date for back pay is moved,” he said.
"We haven't had a pay increase since 2016, the longer this drags out the more money the school is saving and the more money out of our pocket.
"It just shows the conviction of staff who are against this to continue fighting if it is costing us money.
"I know of two staff members who have left the school because of the stress of the negotiations and expectations put on them.”
Mr Bunting said often the only continuity and stability in Carinity's students lives came from school.
"I want to help vulnerable kids and we want a work environment to keep long term staff,” he said.