Union slams Catholic employers over ‘misleading’ salary claims

by Heather Jane25 Jan 2016

Queensland’s teachers are locked in a dispute with Catholic education employers, claiming they’re being underpaid compared to their NSW counterparts.
In a statement late last year, Catholic Education Commission (CEC) executive director, Dr Lee-Anne Perry, said the IEU’s comparisons between salary structures in Queensland and NSW Catholic schools were misleading.

“In Queensland Catholic schools, the most experienced classroom teachers have access to an Experienced Teacher 6 allowance,” she said.

“With the 2.5% pay increase Queensland Catholic employers are offering, these teachers will earn over $93,000 per annum, which is more than experienced teachers in NSW Catholic diocesan schools.”
However, IEUA-QNT branch secretary, Terry Burke, told The Educator that it was the Catholic employer’s claims that were misleading, releasing a statement highlighting the disparities in teachers’ pay between the two states.
“The facts are that the top step of the incremental teacher scale applies automatically to all teachers who have completed at least nine years of service,” Burke explained.
“At 2014 rates these are $91,071 for NSW Catholic Step 9 and $84,279 for QLD Catholic step nine. The employers are attempting to confuse this clear disparity by referring to and quoting Experienced Teacher (ET) 6 rates in Queensland.”
Burke said this was a misleading comparison given that ET6 eligibility requires 12 years of service and the teacher successfully completing an ET6 application, adding “it was not automatic”.
“In addition, the employers fail to mention that NSW Catholic teachers can access an additional voluntary step above step nine called Highly Accomplished Teacher (HAT),” he said.
“The NSW HAT rate will reach $101,614 this year, well in excess of rates available to classroom teachers in Queensland. If this NSW HAT rate is compared with the Queensland ET6 rate – the difference is $10,173 less for Queensland teachers.”
Burke said Queensland Catholic school employers need to “stop their smoke and mirrors approach” when it came to wages.
He added this was “masking the reality” that experienced Queensland teachers at the top of the automatic incremental step were currently being paid $6,792 less a year “just because of their postcode”.