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NewsExtra: Catholic Systemic Schools Update - 2 March 2023

Slow progress on negotiations

Catholic Employment Relations (CER) wrote to the union in December 2022 on behalf of the 11 Catholic dioceses setting out what was described by some dioceses as “a complete offer” and “the best possible outcome” for the new Catholic systemic schools enterprise agreement.

However, key documents (such as CER proposed support staff pay classifications, CER proposed support staff pay rates, and a draft enterprise agreement) were not provided to the union. This was despite numerous requests by the union and repeated promises by CER that they would be provided. It is also appears dioceses have not agreed to match support staff pay rates in government schools, although they stated in April 2022 that dioceses agreed to pay parity.

Employers have also failed to match the additional release time that is being provided in government schools. This is despite their commitment in April 2022 to match any improvements implemented across the state in government schools. Negotiations on improvements in key workload areas such as programming, scheduled release for early career teachers and their mentors, data collection, NCCD, reporting and requirements for teacher development (such as PGIA in Sydney, cycles of improvement etc) are also progressing slowly in some dioceses.

IEU notifies dispute to the Fair Work Commission

To progress our claims, the IEU lodged a bargaining dispute with the Fair Work Commission on Monday 20 February 2023 seeking the assistance of the Fair Work Commission. The IEU cited a series of problems about the bargaining (such as the way in which meetings were conducted, late or no responses to IEU claims, employers not genuinely considering IEU claims and employers not giving cogent reasons for rejecting claims).

The dispute was listed before Commissioner Ryan on Monday 27 February 2023 and there was a further report back on Wednesday 1 March 2023. At the report back on 1 March, after some discussion, the CER agreed to provide the IEU with a “without prejudice” draft enterprise agreement by 4pm on Monday 6 March. This will for the first time give the union a chance to clarify exactly what the employers are proposing for support staff pay rates and the draft agreement. Other issues, such as pay rates, the length of the enterprise agreement and workload improvements are likely to require further negotiation. The Fair Work Commission has also scheduled a face-to-face conference on Friday 17 March 2023 which will enable the parties to discuss in detail the outstanding issues.
2 March 2023