Supporting the independent education community

Catholic Systemic Schools EA: Offer falls short, action inevitable

Thursday 7 April 2022

Dear IEU Member

I am writing to update you following the union’s meeting on Wednesday 6 April with representatives of Catholic dioceses about the new enterprise agreement (EA) that will apply to teachers and support staff in Catholic diocesan schools.

After this meeting, we received the employer’s first written response to our claims. This response has been circulated to employees by Diocesan Directors.

The union acknowledges that the meeting was conducted in goodwill and that some progress has been made. However, the response falls short in almost all areas. For example:

  • there has been no pay offer for teachers in addition to the 2.04% already paid
  • although dioceses have agreed in principle to increase support staff pay rates to a level comparable with the rates paid in government schools, no specific proposal has been put to the union and the phase-in of the new rates is unacceptably long (new rates will not be phased in fully until 2024)
  • there is no offer to improve casual teacher pay
  • employers have refused to improve long service leave for support staff
  • employers have not agreed to additional face-to-face release other than a one-off offer of an additional pupil-free day in 2022 (to be directed by principals).

The employers have stated they will not pay increases above those paid by the NSW and ACT Governments respectively, which means a maximum pay rise of 2.04% for employees in NSW, including the increase already paid (the ACT Government’s position is not yet known). The governments’ position is also cited as the basis for rejecting our claim for improvements in release from face-to-face teaching.

The union considers this response to be unacceptable. More than 500 Chapters have advised the union that they want the right to take protected action in support of our claims for a new enterprise agreement. Accordingly, the union will approach the Fair Work Commission to run a Protected Action Ballot early in Term 2.

We will advise members of details once they are confirmed.

We wish you all the best for a well-earned break after a very challenging term.

Thank you for your continuing support. We look forward to supporting you in Term 2 and to pursuing negotiations for your new EA.

Yours sincerely

Carol Matthews
Acting Secretary