Vol. 5 No. 3
In this edition
Stoppage Drives Progress in Catholic Negotiations
My Graduate Year, Tiffany Kelly
When to Apply for Full Teacher Registration Fixed Term Contracts A Guide to Collective Bargaining and Protected Action Member Snapshot, Naomi Arnold
The newsletter for graduates
Full Day Work Stoppage Drives Progress in Catholic Negotiations
AL SSION E F O R P CT RESPE
Graduate teachers joined with more than 3,500 of their fellow IEUA-QNT members to participate in a state-wide full day work stoppage in response to Catholic employing authorities’ refusal to listen and show their employees professional respect with considered work provisions and appropriate work resources. Graduate teacher participation in the stoppage, held 6 September (11 September in Gold Coast schools), highlighted solidarity amongst all members in response to issues that affect teachers in all stages of their careers. The overwhelming turnout of members during the full day stoppage drove key progress in negotiations between employee and employer representatives. Employers were forced to back down on many positions including the proposed claim around additional professional development of 18 hours per annum. All teaching staff would have been faced with a significant workload increase had this claim remained in the agreement. The collective action also led employers to withdraw their claim allowing medical examinations by a doctor of the employer’s choice.
A number of significant provisions secured for teaching staff during these negotiations will strongly benefit graduate teachers as they progress in their careers. The ability to extend teacher mentoring beyond twelve months is a key provision that will enable graduate teachers to access improved support in their early years and enhance their career progression. Amendment to the current job share clause allowing principles to create further job share opportunities and enhancement to leave provisions will ensure graduate teachers have greater working flexibility during their careers. The current Experienced Teacher 6 provision has been preserved despite the employers’ claim to diminish the entitlement. This will benefit graduate teachers looking forward to a long career in the profession. Employees will be balloted on their acceptance of a draft agreement which, if approved, will be placed with Fair Work Australia for approval.
Join the conversation on our union Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ieuaqnt.
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My Graduate Year Tiffany Kelly began her teaching career at St Dympna’s Parish School, Aspley. When I was in 2nd grade I had this lovely teacher. She was kind and made learning fun. One day I was helping my friend’s little sister understand her homework when I realised that this is what I wanted to do - to help others learn. From then on I never wavered from my decision. I wanted to help children to learn, to make learning fun and to make a difference. My first day of teaching I was very excited but I was also very nervous. I remember waking up every hour the night before and being worried that I had overslept. When I did get to school I was too nervous to write neatly on the board. I must have asked my mentor 100 questions that day about simple things and I’m very thankful of how patient she was, and still is. Now I’ve settled into my teaching role, I am much more confident. The best part of the job is being around children and being able to guide them in their life long journey of learning. The most challenging part is creating new and innovative lesson ideas that are able to engage every student in the room. To help a child achieve their goal in learning is what makes teaching the most important job in the world to me.
When to Apply For Full Teacher Registration Teachers who have one year of teaching practice should apply for full registration with the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT). Attaining full registration is an important step in building your professional recognition as a teacher. This registration means that you’ve met certain expected professional standards and can move from provisional to full registration with QCT. In this context, one year of service is defined as being 200 days or 1,000 hours of teaching experience. This experience does not need to have been completed in one location. It is important, however, that you are working with a principal who has sufficient knowledge of your teaching practice as they will need to complete a recommendation report as part of your application. This recommendation report is a vital component of your application, though it’s important to remember that QCT makes the final decision. However, if a recommendation is made for
the continuation of provisional registration or a cancellation of registration, you are able to appeal this. Members can also seek advice and assistance from our union when dealing with this situation.
How to Apply 1. Visit the QCT website at www. qct.qld.edu.au. View the “apply online for teacher registration” section. 2. Complete the relevant online form and payment. 3. Print out your application form and sign it, ensuring your signature is witnessed by a Justice of the Peace. 4. Have all documentation necessary to your application certified and post to QCT, along with your application form.
Graduate teachers face lots of different issues in their first year of teaching. Meeting 60 new faces of experienced teachers and trying to remember names on the first day is very daunting. Knowing what to say to parents when asked is also a challenge. They don’t have how to have a parent/teacher interview class at university! I practiced for weeks before I sat for my first sit down interview with a parent and I’m glad I did. Joining our union was an also important step for me as I started my career. Together we stand stronger than we can ever stand alone and as a new teacher it is always comforting to know that you are not alone in this profession. My advice for new teachers is to be able to ask for help. We encourage students to ask for help but when we, as adults, are having trouble we often don’t seek help, as it can be perceived as weakness. Asking for help is part of being human.
What You Need to Know About Fixed Term Contracts If you started your teaching career this year on a fixed 12 month appointment, your contract may be nearing expiration. While starting in a fixed term position is a good way to gain experience, there are a few important points to remember about these contracts. It is firstly important to note that fixed term appointments should only be made when there is an “identifiable short term need” within a school. This short term need could be because there is: a special project ongoing at the school, increased short term funding, nominated leave of an existing employee, fluctuating enrolment numbers, class size issues, maternity leave, and proposed school closure. If you believe that you were engaged in a fixed term contract without the presence of an “identifiable short term need”, you should make contact with our union. A fixed term contract should never be treated as a probationary period for a teacher. Fixed term contracts should also not exceed 12 months, except in exceptional circumstances. For example if the employer has received special funding for an identifiable period that exceeds 12 months, the length of a fixed term contract can match this period. Similarly, if there is a period of maternity leave (or other approved leave) exceeding 12 months, the length of a fixed term contract can match the length of this leave.
5. After receiving your correct application and corresponding documents, QCT will begin assessing your application.
Finally, if there is a continuing short term need, you can elect (at the end of your 12 month appointment) to enter into another fixed term contract.
6. QCT will make contact with you regarding the course of your application.
If you have any concerns about your contract, or would like to clarify any of this information, please contact our union on 1800 177 938.
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A Guide to Collective Bargaining Getting Negotiations Underway Collective bargaining is the primary way our union secures above-award employment conditions for our members. Both employers and employees are entitled to nominate Bargaining Representatives who will take part in the negotiations. The bargaining process generally begins when the employer agrees to or initiates bargaining or a majority support determination is delivered
Who can be a Bargaining Representative? * Any employer who would be covered by the agreement * Any union who has a member that will be covered by the agreement * A relevant person specified in writing to act as a representative for any employee or employer who will be covered by the agreement
This is referred to as the notification time. The employer must inform staff of their right to be represented as soon as possible after the notification time, and no later than 14 days. This notification should be given to every person employed at the notification time who will be covered by the agreement. Parties to a negotiation should be acting in what is referred to as “Good Faith Bargaining”. In “good faith” representatives are required to: • apply reasonable time management to meeting attendance • disclose any information which is relevant • respond to any proposals made by other parties in a timely manner • consider any proposals with sincerity and give reasoned responses However, good faith bargaining does not mean that representatives are required to make concessions or agree on terms during bargaining. Parties are able to seek assistance from Fair Work Australia if any other party to the negotiation is not behaving in good faith. Our union has a long history of representing members in good faith during negotiations.
SBU Meetings Meetings between bargaining representatives to discuss negotiations are called Single Bargaining Unit (SBU) meetings. Our union officers and a representative group of active members who will be covered by the proposed agreement attend these SBU meetings with the employer representatives. SBU meetings are the key negotiation opportunities between employee and employer representatives during the collective bargaining process.
Successful bargaining also requires strategic planning and relevant strategic action; this is a particular focus for bargaining representatives and guides their conduct during SBU meetings. SBU meetings are a clear example of the collective strength of our union. Without membership density, it is difficult to persuade the employer to concede on key provisions for staff. Our union has a long history of considered and successful negotiation at the SBU level and it is important for all members to be actively engaged in the process. SBU meetings conclude when employee and employer representatives are able to agree on the terms of a draft collective agreement.
Taking Protected Industrial Action If employee representatives are unable to negotiate a fair outcome at the table, undertaking protected industrial action may be necessary in forcing employers to listen to their employees’ concerns. Protected Industrial Action is authorised by a secret ballot of union members. For protected industrial action to be authorised, 50 per cent of members must vote in the ballot and 50 per cent plus one must endorse the action. If employers for their part remain immovable on key issues, members may choose to take work stoppages as part of endorsed protected action. In September this year members in Queensland Catholic schools chose to undertake a full day work stoppage. This action was crucial in driving positive improvements during negotiations.
Remember * Only union members can undertake protected industrial action; this right is enshrined in Federal industrial legislation.
These scheduled meetings are a chance for representatives on both sides to table, and invite discussion, around proposals for a contemporary workplace agreement. SBU meetings are a key way in which our union advocates and secures improved working conditions for our members.
* It is against the law for any employer to disadvantage an employee because they exercised this basic legal right.
It is important to have engaged and committed members taking part in these meetings, however, successful collective bargaining also requires the active involvement of our broader union membership.
* The employer will deduct wages from an employee who takes the protected action for the duration of any strike action in which they engage during normal working hours.
To achieve the best negotiated outcome it is essential to have high membership density including engaged members who are committed to working collectively to achieve the desired outcome.
Putting an Agreement to Ballot When all matters are agreed upon at the SBU, the draft agreement is put to an employee ballot and, if a majority of staff vote in favour, is placed with Fair Work Australia to be approved ahead of implementation. The process of replacing an old, or developing a new, collective agreement is multifaceted and exciting; member engagement in the process, from the very start and beyond, is vital. Visit www.qieu.asn.au for further resources and collective bargaining updates.
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Member Snapshot •
behaviour problems and being able to understand the reasons behind their behaviour. I have been able to build an understanding relationship with them. What’s the best part about your job and what is the most challenging part? The best part is seeing students’ progress and happiness in their achievements. The most challenging is behaviour issues. What are some key issues for graduate teachers? Some key issues are being able to work well with their teaching partners, to fit everything into the day and deal with parents’ issues. What advice would you give to others who are considering becoming a teacher? I would advise them to go ahead if they want a very rewarding job and are prepared to put in a lot of hard work. Why do you feel it is important as a new teacher to be a member of our union?
St Joeseph’s Primary School , Corinda Why did you want to become a teacher? I have always liked learning myself and when I was a child I remember running my younger brother’s parties. I use to play ‘schools’ with the neighbours in which I acted as the teacher. Teaching and being with children is something that I really enjoy. When did you decide that teaching was the right career path for you? I decided quite late actually. After having four children and spending some time as a group leader in a child care centre, I decided to study my post graduate diploma in Learning and Teaching. I realised how much I enjoyed being with my own children and working as a teacher aide and I knew that it was the right path for me. How did you feel on your first day of teaching? I was a bit nervous on my first day but, as I had experience as a teacher aide and had great support from my colleagues, I soon got over my worries. Do you have a mentor this year? I have had two great mentors this year as teaching partners who have given me lots of advice and support. What has been your most memorable teaching experience so far? Making progress with a couple of the children in my class who have
Starting your teaching career is a big enough learning curve, but there are also many professional issues that you need to be aware of. Being a member of our union means you have access to the right information and the support you need as you develop in your career.
Finding a Teaching Job Online Whether you’re already working or hunting for your first employment opportunity, there are many online resources available to help you secure the teaching job that is right for you. These websites are a great general starting point: * www.careerone.com.au * www.seek.com.au * www.teachers.on.net These websites are helpful if you’re hoping to enter a particular sector of the non-government education industry. * www.catholicjobsonline.net.au (Catholic) * www.ascqld.org.au (Anglican) * www.lutheran.edu.au (Lutheran) * www.csa.edu.au (Christian) * www.aisq.qld.edu.au (Independent Schools) * www.candk.asn.au (Early childhood) For more information visit, www.qieu.asn.au/graduates
ISSN: 1835-9612 Grad News was prepared by Elise Cuthbertson Editor: Mr Terry Burke, Branch Secretary IEUA-QNT PO BOX 418, FORTITUDE VALLEY QLD 4006 PHONE: 1800 177 937 FAX: (07) 3839 7021 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.qieu.asn.au ABN: 74 662 601 045