Aspect members stand up and say, “That’s not good enough!”
IEU members in Aspect schools have sent a resolute message to their employer: immediately improve the pay offer for 2021 for all staff.
IEU Chapters in Aspect schools across the state met over the last week to vote unanimously in favour of a motion, calling on Aspect Education to:
1. immediately improve the pay offer for 2021 for all staff
2. guarantee release from face-to-face teaching for teachers of a
minimum of two hours per week
3. support improved long service leave and personal/carer’s leave for
Prior to and while these votes were underway, Aspect Education sent out a letter to all staff attempting to rationalise their decision to not pay an adequate salary increase for 2021.
As members would be aware, the union has been bargaining for new multi-enterprise agreements (MEAs) for teachers and support staff employed in over 200 NSW and ACT independent schools.
The AIS is still refusing to centrally negotiate pay rises for 2021 and has stated this position very clearly to both the union and schools. Instead, it is intended that the proposed MEAs in force from the beginning of 2022 will include a pay increase for 2022 and incorporate a pay increase for 2021.
However, the 2021 increase will not be backdated in the MEAs, so schools who have not already paid the increase will not have to pay it for 2021.
In December 2020, Maryanne Gosling, National Director of Aspect Education, advised staff that there was a “high degree of uncertainty” about the outlook for 2021 because of a range of reasons. She advised that because of this uncertainty, Aspect would not pay a general pay rise to school staff, but rather two OOPs (one off payments or lump sum payments) each consisting of 0.875% of current salary. Superannuation was to be paid on the OOP. The first payment was made on 18 February 2021 and the second is due on 22 July 2021.
Aspect is in a sound financial position, and the union has not been advised of any reduction of enrolments in 2020 nor 2021. Given this, it is unclear why Aspect has not matched the 2021 pay rises in many other independent schools.
Over 100 independent schools have agreed to pay their staff increases of 2% – 2.5%, with the vast majority of these paying the full amount from February 2021. Government schools, Catholic systemic schools and most Catholic independent schools have paid increases to teachers of 2.28% from January or February this year. The Aspect proposal for OOPs of 1.75% in two instalments is therefore well below that offered by many other independent schools and particularly disadvantages any staff member who resigns employment between now and the introduction of the new MEA, whenever that is (as accumulated leave will be paid at 2020 rates).