‘School cleaners fear their jobs may be outsourced after the Newman government issued a new directive allowing it to waive job security rules in current public sector pay agreements’ reports Daniel Hurst in a 1 August Sydney Morning Herald article.
However, a spokeswoman for Queensland Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said he would maintain the current agreement with school cleaners due to expire in 2015.
‘His response to fears raised by the United Voice union came amid fallout over a new directive, issued by the Public Service Commission yesterday (31 July), which opened the door to extra public service work being outsourced.’
‘The directive removes employment security and no-contracting-out provisions in existing agreements in the name of allowing an “efficient restructure” of government agencies.’
United Voice Queensland secretary Garry Bullock said the union was seeking legal advice about the directive as there could be scope for a court challenge.
‘Bullock said the revocation of job security provisions “at the stroke of the pen” contradicted Premier Campbell Newman’s pre-election comments that he would honour existing EBA provisions.’
“This makes the question for all union members the worth of actually doing in good faith an agreement with this government,” he told reporters outside Parliament House.
‘Bullock was particularly vocal about the state’s 5000 school cleaners, saying he feared their jobs would be contracted out. He said there had been fights with previous governments over school cleaners.’
‘Bullock said he regarded school cleaners as frontline and part of the security of schools and school community. “We expect Newman and his ministers to come out and deny it, but we’re aware that they’ve had companies in to do some costings in schools, companies such as Serco,” he said.’
Bullock gave the Newman government a deadline of Friday to reverse the directive overriding EBAs or face potential legal and protest action, reports Hurst.
“At the end of the day we’ve had a massive campaign back in ’95, ’96 that had massive community support that [ultimately] brought down the Borbidge government. If that’s what we have to do again to prove the relevance of our school cleaners to this government that’s what we’ll do.”
‘Bullock said the issue with the outsourcing of cleaners was not the cost savings that may happen but the standard that was required.’
‘Newman has vowed to protect frontline services. In an interview with brisbanetimes.com.au in late June, the Premier said: “A school cleaner is essential to the operation of the school in a safe and effective manner, so of course they are [frontline].”
‘However, a spokeswoman for Langbroek said the Minister had told the union representing school cleaners that “he intends to honour” the enterprise bargaining agreement. That agreement is understood to include protections against outsourcing.’
“The Minister’s office spoke with United Voice directly yesterday afternoon [31 July] and once again made clear Minister Langbroek’s commitment to the agreement with school cleaners, which is due to expire on 18 January 2015,” Langbroek’s spokeswoman said.
‘The 2012-13 cost for school cleaners is $208 million, the spokeswoman said. “I have reassured United Voice of my decision on a number of occasions,” Langbroek said in a written statement.’
“Neither the department nor my office have contacted any contractors about costings. This claim is untrue.”