Four years of perseverance and resolve have resulted in a resounding 'yes' vote for a new Enterprise Agreement (EA) for Parramatta counsellors. Out of a possible 67 counsellors, 59 voted and all voted 'yes'. The EA covers counsellors, coordinators and lead counsellors who are employed by the Catholic Education Office, Diocese of Parramatta (CEDP) to provide counselling services to schools or other services operated by the employer.
The EA includes a five step scale of professional salaries with annual progression for counsellors as well as salaries for those holding lead counsellor and coordinator positions. It is a four year agreement with wage increases of 2.5% per annum from the first full pay period on or after 1 January in 2017, 2018 and 2019. In 2020 wage increases will continue to match any wage increase received by general employees in the diocesan schools.
Protections under the EA include no enforced professional development during school vacation periods and that counsellors are paid for the full year, including school vacation periods (no ‘salary averaging’ over the school year).
This is the first EA for these members who have experienced several years of disappointment including a major ‘realignment’ negatively impacting on salaries and conditions. This EA delivers outcomes that compare well with counsellors working in the non government and government school sectors. Importantly, the counsellors should enjoy greater clarity and certainty.
In the end we were able to reach an agreement which was beneficial to our members and the employer.
IEU congratulates Parramatta counsellors and thanks IEU counsellor reps and activists for their high level of commitment during this long campaign.