Queensland teachers hit with wage freeze
Following a Beattie Government budget that dudded state schools, Queensland teachers are considering seeking a federal award after the Government last week used flaws in state laws to impose a wage freeze on them for at least 18 months. The Queensland Teachers' Union (QTU) is also considering appealing against an Industrial Relations Commission decision which allowed the Government to freeze salaries. The wage freeze comes on top of the State Government's refusal to address class sizes in state schools, which has resulted in at least 50,000 students learning in crowded conditions. Teachers have not received a wage rise since April last year. They will now not be able to gain an increase until after the current enterprise bargaining dispute is arbitrated later this year. The QTU sought an interim wage rise in the Industrial relations Commission pending the outcome of arbitration. The Government opposed the interim increase and the Commission decided against granting the rise. "The Government has refused to negotiate, tried to stop teachers campaigning on class sizes and stripped teachers of their legitimate right to take strike action", said Ms McCullough. "Teachers refused to accept the Government's pay offer earlier this year as it was not accompanied by commitments to reduce class sizes and help Queensland students." Now they have stopped an interim pay rise. The QTU said the Beattie Government had also frozen state school funding in real terms for four years in last month's budget. "Our priorities are to secure class size reductions and additional resources to deal with student behaviour. Extra teachers above those already agreed to must be employed to help lower class size maximum targets which are woefully outdated", said Ms McCullough. "If the Government refuses to move, teachers will pursue all industrial options to escape Queensland's laws, including potentially seeking access to federal laws."