IEU members in Catholic systemic schools across NSW and the ACT ended 2017 with celebrations following their 88% rejection of the Catholic employers’ enterprise agreement (EA).
There were nearly 15,968 teachers and support staff who voted, and a resounding 14,031 voted down the EA. Catholic employers heard the strong voice of members and immediately re-opened discussions with the Union on the EA and organised back pay for 2017. This ensured that those terminating employment were not disadvantaged and also meant that all teachers and support staff received a welcome boost to their holiday pay.
This outcome proves the benefit of solidarity and strong resolve when faced with threats to industrial rights and working conditions. The IEU applauds the leadership of reps and activists. The Union thanks all members for their support during a campaign that was riddled with hurdles and delays. A particular frustration was the protected action ballot process and the IEU will back the ACTU in its campaign to change unfair industrial rules.
The right to arbitration has been a central issue in the campaign. While the parties have yet to reach agreement around wording, this matter is firmly back on the table.
The Union has continued discussions with the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (CCER) during the school holidays and there is a commitment on the part of both parties to resolve all outstanding issues as soon as possible. At this stage the IEU has made proposals relating to all outstanding matters with the EA that we believe can be achieved in this round.
As well as the disputes clause (arbitration), there are a number of issues involving teacher classification including both teachers on the new standards scale and the pre 2014 teachers.
• recognition of overseas service
• processes for accrediting prior service;
• improved salary outcomes for pre 2014 teachers.
A classification for teachers who do not have proficient teacher status, but have substantial teaching service. This would apply to the standards scale and include teachers who have had more than five years out of the workforce, teachers with interstate teaching experience and teachers from overseas. The IEU has also raised technical issues for support staff relating to span of hours and overtime. There are also a range of minor drafting issues.
Work Practices Agreements (WPAs)
The Union is working to finalise the WPAs for all dioceses. Meetings have already been set for early this term.
One outstanding issue is the settlement of ACT term dates in the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn.
In the Archdiocese of Sydney, the issue of primary class sizes remains outstanding. Due to the change in government structure in the Archdiocese of Sydney, a new notice of representational rights will be issued in Sydney. The Union does not anticipate that this will obstruct finalisation of the EA.
The IEU will keep members advised of progress of our discussions at both CCER and diocesan levels.