Your union continues to bargain on behalf of members across the sector. At Navitas English, teachers will can soon vote on an agreement that will offer average pay rises of 3.7% (though paid as a dollar figure rise, so that teachers at the bottom of the scale will receive a higher percentage increase than those at the top), with other improvements in the so-called MyStudy classes, payment for extra shifts, and an improved disputes procedure. The IEU is seeking a few last-minute tweaks to further improve the offer, and we are hopeful that we can endorse the agreement when it goes out for a vote in August.
Negotiations at Taylors College (also recently purchased by Navitas) are not going so smoothly though. The employer is seeking significant changes to arrangements for the span of hours, non-term time, and paid parental leave, in return for an at-best moderate pay rise of 4% per annum. Teachers at the college have unequivocally rejected the management proposals, and the union will likely put forward a “roll-over” proposal in response.
Meanwhile, the IEU is also bargaining, alongside our sister union the NTEU, at UNSW College (formerly UNSW Global). These negotiations have been reasonably controversy-free, but the unions are awaiting a firm salary offer from management. Assuming that this is adequate, this agreement may be finalised relatively quickly.
Your union will soon commence negotiations at UTS College and Navitas Futures. The Fair Work Act includes provisions for ‘good faith bargaining’, under which an employer can be compelled to bargaining when it can be demonstrated that a majority of employees (or section of employees, such as teachers) want that to happen. To find out how this might work in your workplace, contact your union: www.ieu.asn.au
The state of the industry
These negotiations are taking place against the backdrop of rapidly improving conditions across the sector. There is no question that the pandemic and associated lockdowns created a grave threat to the post-secondary education sector, as can only be expected for an industry almost entirely reliant on the arrival of international students.
How things change! According to figures from English Australia (the industry body for ELICOS colleges), the numbers of students physically starting in May was up nearly 200% on the previous year, while enrolments overall were up by over 270%. South America continues to be a fruitful source of students, with Colombia and Brazil providing increased numbers, while growth among Chinese students continues to recover, following the Chinese government’s relaxation of Covid rules late last year.
These increases are occurring across the international student market, with both universities and VET colleges also reporting big increases on 2022, and future projections for students across all sectors are highly encouraging.
With the industry undergoing a widespread recovery, now is the time to get organised at your workplace. There’s little doubt that unionised workplaces are generally better rewarded and better run, with higher pay, higher productivity, and happier workers and students.
All IEU members can help by encouraging your colleagues who are not already members to join the IEU. They can join over the phone (8202 8900), via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or at www.ieu.asn.au/join-page. There are many broader benefits to IEU membership (www.ieu.asn.au/member-benefits) and union fees are tax deductible. So join the IEU today!