The IEU and employers participated in a Fair Work Commission (FWC) conciliation on Friday 17 March concerning the proposed Catholic Systemic Schools Enterprise Agreement. Here is the latest update.

Supporting the independent education community

NewsExtra: Catholic Systemic Schools Update - 21 March 2023

Catholic Systemic Schools Update


The IEU notified a bargaining dispute to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) on 20 February about the slow progress of the negotiations for a new Catholic Systemic Schools Enterprise Agreement (the EA). Our dispute was listed before the FWC on 27 February, 1 March and again on Friday 17 March. Catholic Employment Relations (CER) provided the union with a draft of the proposed EA on 6 March.


Productive discussions in the FWC on Friday 17 March


The IEU and employers engaged in productive discussions before Commissioner Ryan in the conciliation on 17 March. The IEU was represented by barrister Leo Saunders. Representatives of CER and the dioceses responded to concerns raised by the union, including the following key issues.


Length of EA

The IEU is seeking an EA with a shorter expiry date of 31 December 2023. This date is consistent with the end date of the award that applies to teachers in NSW government schools.

Flow on of pay increases in the government sector
Employers have committed to match percentage pay increases in NSW and ACT government teacher pay rates that might occur within the term of the EA. However, the IEU is seeking changes to ensure that all types of increases that might occur in government teacher rates before 31 December 2023 (for example, a lump sum payment or a flat dollar increase) are included.

Support staff pay
The IEU discussed in detail our concerns about the support staff pay offer. This includes the date of effect of increases, back pay, the rate for regional primary schools below 400 students and the transitional arrangements for senior administrative staff in larger schools.

Teacher release

The IEU is seeking more release time for 2023, 2024 and 2025 for teachers to become familiar with new curricula, in line with release being provided in NSW government schools. We are also seeking regular scheduled release for early career teachers and their mentors and to match improvements recently offered to ACT government teachers.

Temporary employees

The IEU has sought further discussion on the arrangements for temporary employees, including learning support staff on recurring fixed term contracts.

Next steps

Following these productive discussions, it was agreed that negotiations between the IEU and Catholic systemic employers would continue on three levels – central negotiations, negotiations about local diocesan issues, and drafting discussions about the precise words of the EA. The IEU understands that detailed responses will be provided to the IEU on these issues before the report back before the FWC on 6 April 2023.