Home | Top Stories | Ipswich Girls Grammar staff to strike today for first time in history
Ipswich Girls' Grammar School in Queensland. Picture: Supplied

Ipswich Girls Grammar staff to strike today for first time in history

Teachers and school support staff at Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School (IGGS) and Ipswich Junior Grammar School (IJGS) in Queensland will stop work for the first time in the school’s 132 year history on Tuesday, June 4, after negotiations with school management on Monday morning failed to find a way forward.

Staff will strike for three hours between 11.55am and 2.55pm to campaign for better working conditions at the school, despite the school offering teachers a "historically high" pay increase.

The unprecedented move came after the Independent Education Union – Qld and NT branch (IEU-QNT) last week alleged that the school had docked pay for staff taking low-level industrial action.

From May 20 to May 29, staff did not attend staff meetings (except those related to staff and student safety) and were not available to complete on scheduled breaks – including their lunch break.

The school had written to all staff a fortnight ago and again last week saying it planned to dock 7.67 per cent from pay packets of those who had taken part in the refusal to work during scheduled breaks.

Ipswich Girls and Junior Grammar School said in a statement on Monday afternoon that it continued to engage in negotiations with representatives from the IEU’s Queensland and Northern Territory Branch.

“The school recognises the importance of addressing employee concerns and is actively participating in discussions,’’ Principal Dr Marie Perry said.

“It acknowledges the recent developments but remains committed to collaborative efforts.

“Despite the sudden escalation in industrial action, we want to assure everyone that the school continues to negotiate in good faith.

“While some staff members are participating in the proposed industrial action, many others are continuing with business as usual."

She said the school was acting in accordance with the provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 in responding to the action.

The school has been meeting with staff representatives regularly since August last year.

“Ipswich Girls’ and Junior Grammar School remains dedicated to fostering a positive working environment and invites the IEU-QNT to return to the bargaining table for meaningful dialogue,’’ she said.

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

Staff at the school were 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.

The union and IGGS have been negotiating for on-staff conditions for nine months.

“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,” Mr Elphinstone said.

“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 choice.

“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.

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

A statement provided by Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School last week said the school “wishes to emphasise its unwavering commitment to finding a way forward through constructive negotiations”.

But, the school said a pay rise of five per cent – above the wage price index – was offered to all staff earlier this year, followed by another five per cent in 2025 and a further four per cent in 2026.

It said the salary increases were “historically high” and “determined based on what is sustainable for the school”.

“The proposed collective agreement aimed to enhance staff conditions by offering improved pathways to leading teacher salaries, along with a more robust and incremental pay scale for school officers,’’ the statement said.

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