STAFF STRIKE: Carinity Education Glendyne staff protesting last month over proposed entitlement cuts outside the Nikenbah school.
STAFF STRIKE: Carinity Education Glendyne staff protesting last month over proposed entitlement cuts outside the Nikenbah school. Blake Antrobus

Why these Bay teachers walked off the job for fourth time

TEACHERS and support staff at Nikenbah's Carinity Education Glendyne went on strike for the fourth time due to ongoing enterprise bargaining disputes with the Queensland Baptists' outreach school.

Last month, about eight teachers walked off the job for three hours, increasing the time frame of their previous one-hour strikes carried out in the 14 months since negotiations commenced.

The staff went on strike for one hour at 8am this morning. 

A similar rally took place concurrently in Brisbane at another school, Carinity Southside.

Independent Education Union Queensland and Northern Territory Branch Secretary Terry Burke alleged throughout the negotiations, Carinity had remained wedded to an agenda of cuts to community-standard working conditions including superannuation, long service leave and redundancy provisions.

Mr Burke claimed the negotiations had reached a critical point where intervention from the independent umpire was essential.

"Carinity has repeatedly refused members' calls to refer this matter to the Fair Work Commission for arbitration, instead hiding immovably behind an agenda of cuts," he said.

"Carinity should have nothing to fear from arbitration that will likely result in compromises from both parties to assist in reaching agreement - that is the nature of fair negotiations."

A Carinity spokesperson told the Chronicle the "misleading" union opposition was "bewildering" as they have been negotiating in good faith.

"The Union's one-hour stoppage will not put our students at risk and lessons will continue as usual.

"Enterprise Bargaining is about the employer and employees reaching an agreement which is beneficial for the school and its students.

"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.

"Staff have already been offered an increase in salary of between 8.5 and 10 per cent over the life of the three-year agreement. At last week's meeting Carinity put an even-higher offer on the table and we are waiting for the union's response."

Mr Burke refuted Carinity Education claims "staff were in fact being offered an increase in salary of between 8.5 and 10 per cent over the life of the three-year agreement".

"The facts are school employees have not had a pay rise since 2016," he said.

"Carinity's 'increases' when broken down to cover the full life of the agreement plus the lack of a pay rise since 2016 leave employees still only just keeping pace with inflation.

"The 'pay increases' would also only be back paid to July 1 of this year even though there have been no wage increases since 2016.

"The '10 per cent increase' would only be for one category of employee (Youth Worker) - Carinity Education is insisting on differentiated pay increases across different categories of staff which are less than the 10 per cent.

"These so called salary increases will not offset the overall financial loss staff will suffer due to Carinity Education's proposed cuts to long service leave, redundancy and super co-contribution which in fact make the real wages increase over the life of the agreement closer to 1 per cent."

Cuts according to union

-Super co-contribution: was removed entirely. Employees who co-contribute 5 per cent to super to lose additional 3.75 per cent in super each year, while those who contribute an additional 4 per cent to their super will lose an additional 2.75 per cent in super each year, and those contributing 3 per cent to their super will lose an extra 1.75per cent co-contribution to super.

-Redundancy: Reduction from 16 weeks after 9+ years' service to 12 weeks after 10+ years' service = loss of 4 weeks.

-Long Service Leave: Reduction from 1.3 weeks per year accrual to 1 week per year accrual.

-First Aid Allowance: would be removed and applied only to a designated first aid officer; currently all school officers have access to this meaning a total loss of $2,365.74 lost over three years. ($30.33/fortnight x 26 fortnights x 3 years).