Negotiations have commenced for a new Goodstart Agreement that will cover all Goodstart centres throughout Australia. Three unions are involved: the IEU; the Australian Education Union or AEU (representing Goodstart teachers in Victoria); and the United Workers Union (formerly United Voice). The IEU and the AEU work together in the interests of teachers in NSW, the ACT and Victoria.
Before negotiations commenced, Goodstart gave a 2.4 per cent increase to all employees. Goodstart has also advised us it wants to ensure it can keep attracting early childhood teachers to its services through the wages it offers. Goodstart realises it needs to ensure its teachers’ salaries keep increasing to bridge the gap between Goodstart salaries and school salaries.
The IEU presented a log of claims at the first negotiation session in Brisbane on Thursday 27 February. Included in the log of claims are:
- increase in teachers’ salaries
- increase in director’s allowance
- increase in educational leader’s allowance and more non contact time to perform this role
- nominated supervisor’s allowance in addition to director’s allowance
- assurance that all full time teachers have access to rostered days off
- increase in non contact time to four hours per week
- two child-free days and four teachers’ practice days per year to complete necessary reports and records
- time to ensure that teachers can meet their NESA accreditation requirements
- 18 weeks’ paid parental leave
- increase in personal leave to 15 days a year, and
- community service leave of up to five days per year.
The AEU log of claims, although reflecting similar matters to the IEU, includes some items that are particular to Victorian teachers. The United Workers Union claim is not specific to teachers but general for all employees.
The next bargaining meeting will be held on Thursday 26 March in Melbourne. Goodstart has indicated it expects bargaining will be complete after two or three meetings, but given the claims of all three unions, this is unlikely.
In the past few weeks, IEU organisers have been visiting Goodstart centres and have been warmly received by teachers.