Teachers and staff at elite Ipswich schools strike after negotiations stall

June 4, 2024 3:09 pm in by
Photo: Independent Education Union - Queensland and Northern Territory [IEU -QNT]. Supplied.

Ipswich Girls and Junior Grammar School teachers and support staff have walked off the job today over a dispute on pay and conditions.

The protected industrial action involving teachers and staff, who are Independent Education Union members, began around 11:55am for three hours today.

It comes after a meeting between the union and the two schools stalled yesterday.

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It’s understood Ipswich Girls and Junior Grammar School are planning to discuss the issue at a board meeting before further talks with the union [IEU-QNT] next week.

Independent Education Union organiser for Ipswich Andrew Elphinstone said employees had no choice but to take strike action.

“As employers, IGGS and IJGS have failed to take the steps needed to resolve the key concerns of members at a negotiating meeting held earlier today,” he said.

Mr Elphinstone said staff are seeking action on three key issues – a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) payment, a new automatic step for experienced teachers and flexible access to leave.

“Taking any form of protected industrial action, especially strike action, is always a last resort for IEU-QNT members, but the employer has left them no other choice,” Mr Elphinstone said.

“IEU-QNT members aren’t just taking this action because they deserve better working conditions, they are fighting for the future of the IGGS and IJGS school community.

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“The employer proposal puts at risk attracting and retaining high-quality teachers for IGGS and IJGS students, now and into the future,” Mr Elphinstone said.

Video: Independent Education Union – Queensland and Northern Territory [IEU -QNT]. Supplied.

Meanwhile, Ipswich Girls and Junior Grammar Schools said that they have put measures in place today to ensure that the industrial action had a minimal impact on school operations.

In a statement, IGGS and IJGS said that they actively engaged in ongoing negotiations with the staff
representatives and the Independent Education Union (IEU).

The negotiations are being conducted with integrity, and there is a shared belief that progress is being made towards an agreement that meets the staff’s expectations and maintains the school’s sustainability.

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Principal, Dr Marie Perry commented on the situation, saying, “I want to clarify the
misunderstandings arising from recent reports.

“The School has been diligently addressing the concerns regarding working conditions and salary structures.

“We’ve proposed a structured pay increase plan with 5% in 2024, 5% in 2025, and an additional 4% in 2026.

“This results in a total compounded increase of 14.66% over the next three years, ensuring that our staff’s compensation remains competitive,” she said.

“While it’s true that these proposals did not receive majority support from our staff, I want to
emphasise our commitment to resolving the salary issues with the urgency they deserve.

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We’ve been actively involved in discussions to find solutions that honour the contributions of our
dedicated staff members.

Furthermore, I must address the claims made by the union suggesting our school lacks the impetus
to address staff’s concerns. Let me be clear: such statements are unfounded.

The wellbeing of our staff and students has always been, and will continue to be, a top priority for us,” Dr Perry said.