EXPERIENCED classroom teachers in Catholic schools across Queensland are set to receive a salary boost above $100,000.
“This is a very significant achievement, and has the potential to keep the most talented teachers in the classroom,” Independent Education Union Queensland branch secretary Terry Burke said.
“From July 1, 2018 very experienced teachers will receive $100,972 – and that is agreed.”
Mr Burke said six-figure salaries were really part of an incremental progression of wages that would flow following an in-principle enterprise bargaining agreement reached by Catholic school employers and employees.
The agreement has taken months of negotiation and included industrial action in parts of the state, and a full-day strike by some employees.
Queensland Catholic Education Commission executive director Lee-Anne Perry said the in-principle agreement reached through discussion in the Fair Work Commission “is a fair outcome for our staff who provide outstanding learning opportunities for young Queenslanders in Catholic schools”.
“It’s also an agreement that recognises the distinct nature of Queensland’s Catholic education sector,” Dr Perry said.
“The in-principle agreement is a good outcome for all involved in Catholic education and we hope staff will support it through the ballot.”
Mr Burke said the agreement would bring the salaries of Queensland Catholic teachers in line with those in other states and would see the narrowing of the gap for classroom teachers in their early to mid-careers while providing experienced classroom teachers with access to rates starting from the mid-$90,000s.
“Achieving a top rate in 2018 for experienced classroom teachers in excess of $100,000 is a very significant achievement,” Mr Burke said.
“At least there is a substantial salary progression. Attracting people to a profession is not about money but it does go a long way.”
Carmel College classroom teacher and former pastoral leader Joseph Eastgate said a wage increase was “positive recognition” for high work demands.
“I know a lot of teachers draw comparisons with other states. The work intensity is the same regardless of where you go,” he said.
“Over the equivalent of a year you might do as much as four weeks a year out of class marking and also teachers will spend lots and lots of time responding to emails as well.
“As a pastoral leader I would spend an extra hour a day responding to emails in a timely manner.
“I think because of that a lot of teachers are feeling under the pump, a lot of stress at the moment. Perhaps a bit more pay will make them feel appreciated.
“From my Catholic perspective I always see teaching as a service and a vocation.
“And especially in the religious education classroom I think it is so important to have a teacher who has a love of Christ so they can pass that love on to their students.
“I think BCE is really helping teachers to get qualifications but I think we also need to encourage teachers to establish a connection with their parish.”
The in-principle enterprise bargaining agreement covers the next four years. It includes:
l wage increases of 2.5 per cent per annum, back-dated to mid-2015. This rate would increase to match the percentage of any higher increase awarded to public sector teachers in their next EB agreement.
l several one-off increases to the base amounts paid in many teacher classifications, to be paid from July 1, 2016.
l a review of the teacher classification structure.
Dr Perry said a ballot to ratify the agreement would be held early in Term 3.
“If the ballot is successful then school authorities will begin processing the wage rise as soon as practicable,” she said.
By Mark Bowling