Update:Settlement imminent on the Catholic Systemic Enterprise Agreement
The Union is on the brink of celebrating the full and final settlement of the Enterprise Agreement covering teachers and support staff across Catholic systemic schools in NSW and the ACT. Following a final review of documentation, Catholic employers will disseminate the proposed EA to all staff with detailed information about the content. Voting is scheduled to commence during week 3 of this term. The IEU recommends a YES vote on this EA that now delivers fair salary outcomes to members with improved conditions and no ‘trade offs’. Importantly, the EA protects essential processes and ensures that the EA and diocesan Work Practices Agreements (WPAs) are enforceable.
This settlement is the result of the strong resolve of members during an arduous campaign over 18 months. As members are aware, the turning point in the dispute occurred in December 2017 when a resounding 88% of teachers and support staff voted NO to a proposed EA that denied them the right to arbitration. The strong voice of Catholic systemic staff was finally heard by their employers. Since then, there has been an effort to finalise all outstanding matters.
Since December, the IEU has been working with the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (CCER) to ensure clarity of every clause in the agreement. In a document of such breadth and length even an accidental mishap in wording can create ambiguity and impact on members’ conditions. The Union has also worked with dioceses over outstanding Work Practices Agreements (WPAs). We are pleased to advise that the remaining WPAs are now being prepared for signature in the dioceses of Wagga Wagga and Parramatta. Bathurst is still pending and we will keep Bathurst members informed of progress.
Following the December vote, all dioceses back paid the 2.5% salary increases from January 2017. The IEU again urges employers to back pay the next 2.5% increase from January 2018 once the EA vote is finalised. ACT teachers follow ACT government rates and their next increase is 1.5% back paid from 1 April 2018.
The Agreement will come into effect seven days after approval by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) and remains in force until 31 December 2019. A further 2.5% increase will be paid to NSW teachers and all support staff in January 2019.
A comprehensive summary of the EA features will be included in the upcoming Newsmonth and on www.ieu.asn.au
The IEU will provide further information as the EA vote unfolds. Union organisers are available to visit schools to answer your questions and provide information about the proposed EA and the new Work Practices Agreements. Check the website for more information www.ieu.asn.au. We encourage you to contact the union to organise a visit.
Arbitration and the ACTU ‘Change the Rules’ Campaign
The enshrining of arbitration in the EA is a tribute to members’ resolve and helps pave the way for fair outcomes in other sectors of our membership. The dispute went to the heart of workers’ rights and highlighted some of the major flaws in the Fair Work Act. Just days ago, the ACTU Secretary Sally McManus called for the reinstatement of the Fair Work Commission’s broad power to arbitrate disputes restoring its role as a “strong umpire”. She also seeks restoration of an award system that will ensure “a strong and relevant foundation for everyone”. The Catholic systemic dispute has demonstrated the problems in the current system including the thwarting impact of the Fair Work Act on exercising the right to take industrial action. The Union calls on all members to support the ACTU ‘Change the Rules’ campaign. This will be the theme of all May Day events and we encourage you to join us for the Sydney March on 6 May (details below) or Wollongong 5 May at 10am.
Authorised by Gloria Taylor Acting Secretary, Independent Education Union of Australia NSW/ACT Branch