Catholic Schools Broken Bay opts out
For the first time in over 12 months of negotiations, the IEU received a draft “without prejudice” Catholic Systemic Schools Enterprise Agreement (EA) late on Monday 6 March 2023 from Catholic Employment Relations (CER). This followed the notification of a dispute by the IEU to the Fair Work Commission complaining about the employer delays in the bargaining for a new EA. The IEU was astonished to see that the Diocese of Broken Bay was not listed as an employer in the proposed EA.
This is consistent with the advice the Diocese has given to its own employees that it has asked for its name to be removed from the EA until the other dioceses agree to the inclusion of a “Staff Voice clause”. The IEU has held brief discussions with Broken Bay representatives about this proposal, but we have not been provided with the proposed clause. It was explained to us that it was intended to permit Broken Bay to withdraw from the EA in future and make a separate enterprise agreement with the union.
We have offered to meet with the Director of Schools, Danny Casey, so we can understand the rationale behind this approach.
A bet each way
It seems to the IEU that the Diocese wishes to have ‘a bet each way’ – that is, they would prefer to be covered by the NSW and ACT EA, but they are hoping to be able to withdraw from it at a later date.
The IEU is happy to negotiate a specific EA with Broken Bay if they wish, but we think all the cards should be on the table at the time the EA is finalised and voted on, not put off to a later date. Let’s sort this now!
Progress with Broken Bay
IEU will continue to meet with representatives of the Diocese to improve working conditions of members. Key achievements so far include:
- salary increases above those paid by other NSW dioceses and NSW government schools
- support staff pay increases already implemented to achieve parity with rates in government schools
- establishment of a working party with IEU representation to address teacher workloads
- increase in teacher release from face-to-face teaching, with more to come
- increase in large class support in primary schools.
Broken Bay has suggested that the notification of a dispute by the IEU could lead to further delays in the making of a new EA, even until late in 2023. In fact, our dispute notification has sped up the process as we now finally have a draft EA. However, the sudden and totally unexpected change in position by Broken Bay will inevitably cause delay.