Queensland teachers locked out for wearing badges
Teachers at Langports English College in Brisbane have been locked out of their workplace simply for wearing badges in support of fair and reasonable industrial claims.
Langports took the extreme and unprecedented step this morning (22 May 2019) of locking out teachers for a full day after they wore badges yesterday which contained the words 3Rs: Recognise, Respect, Reward.
The lockout comes as IEUA-QNT members seek to negotiate their first collective agreement at the College.
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said the employer’s decision to lock out staff members was vastly disproportionate to the badge-wearing action.
“This is the first time we’ve seen a lockout occur in the education sector in Queensland,” Mr Burke said.
“It is outrageous that any employer would lock out its staff for a full day simply for wearing a badge.
“Employees have sought genuine negotiations with the employer for the past 12 months, but the employer’s refusal to budge on key issues left employees with no choice but to take action.”
Members were forced to take protected industrial action (in the form of badge-wearing) as negotiations stalled over the employer’s refusal to address key claims, including:
- fair wage increases;
- paid marking and preparation time for casuals; and,
- dispute resolution provisions for employees.
Mr Burke said staff would rally on Friday, 24 May 2019 to call for Langports to drop the lockout.
“It’s time for Langports to drop this lockout and let its teachers teach,” Mr Burke said.
“Employees have made their position clear. It’s now time for the employer to come to the bargaining table and seriously address their key issues.”
Mr Burke said the employer has chosen to take petty lockout action rather than address employees’ fair claims – a decision that can only result in a negative impact for students and employees.
“Staff will not be paid during the lockout period, while students will face interruptions to their scheduled classes.”
Mr Burke said employer lockouts are permitted under the Fair Work Act and that the only requirement is that lockouts are ‘causally connected’ to employees’ industrial action and appropriate notice is given.
“There is no requirement under current legislation for employer lockouts to be ‘reasonable, proportionate or rational’,” Mr Burke said.
Langports previously locked out employees in April but was forced by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to cease the action due to a technical error with its notice to employees.
Langports English College is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) that provides English language courses and programs for students aged 16 and over.