UNION RESPONDS: lockout untrue according to QCEC

UNION claims of a lockout in Queensland Catholic schools are untrue according to the Queensland Catholic Education Commission.

QCEC executive director Dr Lee-Anne Perry said a lockout was the exact opposite of what Catholic school employers were seeking.

"The union is misrepresenting the facts, at a time of year when we should be celebrating the work of our students."

"Employers would like all staff to come to work and perform their normal duties," Dr Perry said.

"Employers also want to support those staff who have had to take on extra duties to cover some union members engaged in work bans as part of protected industrial action."

Dr Perry said union claims that staff would be locked out were untrue and misleading.

"Employers are not preventing staff from coming to work," she said.

"Employers respect the right of staff to take protected industrial action.

"What employers have said is that if negotiations are not finalised, or the union does not lift current work bans, then employers intend to exercise their right under the Fair Work Act to withhold payment for days when employees don't carry out their full duties.

"Employers remain committed to giving employees an opportunity to appropriately vote on a proposed agreement as soon as possible that provides fair and reasonable conditions that keep Queensland Catholic education sustainable and accessible by our families."

 

The Independent Education Union has released a statement in response:

 

"The claims by Queensland Catholic school employers of no potential lockout in their schools are inaccurate.

The employers themselves in their latest communication to staff (November 25, 2019) concede that they are refusing to accept the partial performance of duties.

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Act) is quite clear on the consequences of such employer action.

The employers in invoking section 471(4) of the Fair Work Act 2009 are refusing to "accept the performance of any work by the employee until the employee is prepared to perform all of his or her normal duties".

This means an employee would not and cannot perform any work whatsoever for the employer during this time.

In the alternative, the employer would have it that the employee would be working without pay - the Act does not allow this to happen.

Clearly Queensland Catholic employers do not understand the Act or the provision within the Act they are invoking.

The employer action would mean that employees undertaking the work bans would be excluded from work and effectively from the school site.

By any reasonable understanding, what the employers are proposing is a lockout: a lockout of employees from their duties; a lockout of employees from their pay; a lockout of employees from their classrooms; if not a lockout of employees from their schools."

South Burnett

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