Supporting the independent education community

Catholic systemic schools member update: Enterprise agreement negotiations

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8 August 2022


Dear IEU Member

Enterprise agreement negotiations

I am writing to update members in Catholic systemic schools on the progress of the campaign for a new enterprise agreement. To date our employers have not addressed the key elements of our claim:

  • pay teachers what they’re worth
  • give support staff a fair deal
  • let teachers teach – cut paperwork
  • allow time to plan – reduce the teaching load by two hours per week
  • end staffing shortages.

The IEU wrote to Catholic Employment Relations (CER) on 29 July 2022 to complain about the lack of progress. Employer representatives have refused repeated requests to meet – the last meeting was on 15 June 2022.

The position is as follows:

  • there is still no detailed proposal by dioceses as to how they will increase support staff pay rates to match the rates applying in government schools
  • there has been no general progress on measures to improve job security for support staff, although the CER agreed to further discuss this issue in May
  • dioceses have not agreed to increase long service leave for support staff
  • there has been little progress on measures to address teacher workload
  • there has been no general agreement to reduce teaching loads to allow teachers time to plan
  • there has been no pay offer above pay increases already paid, other than by the Diocese of Broken Bay (the increases already paid are 2.04% in January for teachers in NSW and support staff in NSW and ACT, and 1.5% in July for ACT teachers)
  • there has been no discussion with the IEU about a general strategy to address staffing shortages.

Members who have been wearing yellow T-shirts or union insignia in support of our claim should continue to do so. We will be sending information to members in coming weeks about the next steps in the campaign.

Teacher workload

The IEU is meeting with individual dioceses to discuss measures each diocese can adopt to address teacher workload. At this stage there has been generally little concrete improvement. Some additional release time has been offered but the IEU wishes to ensure this does not increase teacher workload by mandating additional duties be performed. The additional release sought by the union is teacher-directed not employer-directed. The union acknowledges the additional collaborative planning time that is being provided by Catholic Schools Broken Bay.

Staffing shortages survey

The union has advised IEU Reps and principal members that we will be conducting a survey of teacher absences in all NSW and ACT schools during Week 3 and Week 4 of this term. We will be circulating the survey on 11 August and will be seeking the following information:

  • the number of current teacher vacancies (permanent and temporary) at each school
  • the number of days in the survey period in which a casual teacher could not be found to replace an absent teacher at the school
  • measures adopted by the school in the survey period when a teacher was absent and not replaced.

Please assist the Rep in completing the survey, if requested to do so.

The IEU has given evidence to the NSW Legislative Council Inquiry into teacher staffing shortages and the extent of the impact on our members.

Work Practices standards (for example on class sizes, release and extras) should be adhered to. Please do not hesitate to contact your Organiser where this is not occurring so we can discuss with dioceses options to resolve the problem.

COVID safety measures

On Thursday 4 August, union representatives met with NSW Department of Education and NSW Health officials, including Dr Kerry Chant, to discuss the practices schools should be adopting in Term 3 and beyond to keep staff and students safe. The officials stressed the need for schools to adopt COVID smart practices that could be adjusted if required by an increase in COVID numbers in a particular school.

Thank you for your support

Thank you for your continuing support of our Hear Our Voice campaign.


Mark Northam