Press Release


Queensland Catholic school employer statement confirms lockout

Claims by Queensland Catholic school employers of no potential lockout of teachers and support staff in their schools are inaccurate.

A communication by the Director of the Toowoomba Catholic Education Office, Dr Pat Coughlan, sent to teachers and support staff in his Diocese late yesterday (25 November 2019) has provided an accurate description of the employer proposed action:

'The notices simply mean that if a staff member is considering participating in a partial work ban, such as refusing to do rostered duties, that person is not required at work on that day, and will not be paid’, w
rote Dr Coughlan.

Independent Education Union of Australia – Queensland and Northern Territory (IEUA-QNT) Branch Secretary Terry Burke said not being required at work and not being paid is a lockout of staff.

“The only part Dr Coughlan has left out is that under the legislation the ‘not required at work and not being paid’ continues until the bans are ceased,” Mr Burke said.

“That means having undertaken a single ban the ‘not required at work and not being paid’ continues indefinitely – until the bans are ceased.

“Queensland Catholic school employers themselves in a separate communication to all staff early yesterday (25 November 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 school 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,” Mr Burke said.

The IEUA-QNT has today launched a community petition calling on Queensland Catholic school employers to:

· immediately withdraw their threat to lockout their employees undertaking lawful work bans;

· uphold established Catholic Church teachings regarding the dignity of the worker to be free from threats, coercion and duress; and

· bargain in good faith with Catholic school employees to resolve remaining issues of workload and wage parity.

The petition is online at


IEUA-QNT represents more than 17,000 education professionals across Queensland and the Northern Territory.


Contact Details

For further information or interviews contact:
Laura Wise, IEUA-QNT Communications Manager via 0419 653 131 or

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