IEU members at the Hunter Valley Sub Branch meeting on 18 February passed motions in support of their colleagues at the Maitland - Newcastle Catholic Schools Office (CSO).
“The Hunter Valley Sub Branch of the IEU notes the failure of the Catholic Schools Office to pay the 2.5% salary increase to those employed under the CSO Enterprise Agreement. This Sub Branch notes that historically pay increases have been paid in the same amount and at the same time as schools in order to maintain relativities.
“The Sub Branch calls on the CSO to prioritise the commencement of bargaining for a new enterprise agreement for this group of members. Further, the Sub Branch seeks an assurance that the 2.5% will be paid retrospectively with a commencement date of the first full pay period after 1 January 2019.”
Members working in the Maitland-Newcastle CSO Office and in the Shared Services office of the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese have not received a 2.5% pay rise for 2019, notwithstanding the usual arrangement that CSO staff pay rises reflect those paid to employees in schools.
The CSO Enterprise Agreement expired at the end of 2018.
Following correspondence from the Union, the CSO agreed on 11 March 2019 to commence negotiations for a new agreement and has agreed in principle to the backdating of a pay rise to the same date as pay rises for employees in schools, once the agreement is reached. No dates have yet been set for the start of negotiations. The Union is aware that the CSO budget makes allowance for the 2.5% pay rise from January.
However, the Union expects that a proposed new CSO enterprise agreement would not cover Shared Services staff. In January the Fair Work Commission handed down a decision concerning the dispute between the Union and the diocese about the terms and conditions of the 35 staff who were transferred in 2018 from the CSO to Shared Services.
Unfortunately, the commission held that the CSO EA did not continue to apply to staff who transferred to Shared Services. This decision was based on technical legal argument, not the fairness or otherwise of whether or not the EA should continue to apply.
We will be consulting with members in Shared Services as to future enterprise agreement coverage and pay rises.