Supporting the independent education community

NSW Catholic systemic schools EA update: Pay rise overdue

Pay rise overdue

A pay rise was due for teachers, support staff and principals in NSW Catholic schools in January 2020. A pay increase is necessary to re-establish pay parity with the existing wages paid in NSW government schools. Additional pay increases will also occur in 2021 under awards applying to employees in NSW government schools.


What does the media talk about a pay freeze mean?

The NSW government has foreshadowed that it may attempt to freeze the pay of NSW public servants including nurses, teachers, police and other health workers. Public servants other than teachers are due a 2.5% pay rise from July this year but government school teachers have already received a pay rise of 2.5% in January and are due a further increase under their award in January 2021. The NSW government would have to pass special legislation in order to block these pay increases and may not have the support of parliament to do this.


What about Catholic school employers?

Catholic school employers advised last November that they would agree as part of an overall package to match pay increases for teachers in NSW and ACT government schools but did not agree at that time to match the additional increases received by support staff in July 2019 in NSW government schools.


However, in late April, the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (CCER) wrote to the union putting enterprise agreement negotiations on hold until at least Week 7 (commencing 9 June). CCER said dioceses would determine in Week 7 whether they were prepared to recommence bargaining. In a meeting held a few days earlier, employer representatives also ruled out an interim payment whilst negotiations were paused and refused to give any commitment about pay increases in 2020 at all.


With the return of increasing numbers of students to schools in Term 2, the union wrote to CCER in May asking for dioceses to commit to the resumption of bargaining no later than Week 7 and to confirm their position on matters previously indicated to be agreed (such as the pay rises).


The union stated:

‘The union considers that to further delay bargaining beyond Week 7 because of COVID-19 is unreasonable and unfair to our members carrying out their work with such commitment’.


In a response on 11 May, CCER Interim Executive Director John Ruddell again refused to commit to resume bargaining at any time, stating “I reiterate that dioceses continue to acknowledge the work done by all their staff in what have been exceptional circumstances. However, as you would appreciate, this is not a consideration in the decision to delay bargaining”.


Dioceses have walked away from discussions to address workload as well as the negotiations concerning pay rises and the enterprise agreement.


Where to now?

The union is very concerned about the hold up to bargaining. Catholic schools have for decades paid classroom teachers in Catholic schools the same as teachers in government schools (pay parity - no more, no less). A similar approach has been taken in relation to support staff. After all, Catholic schools receive funding based on the cost of educating a child in a government school so pay and conditions should reflect those in government schools.


IEU members in Catholic schools have been getting on with their jobs and it is time that CCER returned to the bargaining table.


Chapter meetings

Please meet and vote on the attached Chapter motions, if possible, by Wednesday 10 June 2020. All members, including support staff members, are encouraged to attend this meeting.


A final word

The IEU supports members.

Please invite your colleagues to join here: