The current Multi-Enterprise Agreements (MEAs) for teachers and support staff do not expire until January next year, but the Union has had some indication that the AIS may seek early negotiations for the 2017 agreements. The Union advised the AIS that we are just commencing a consultation process with our members in independent schools, but we have forwarded preliminary claims to employers in respect to the next round of agreements. Key elements of the claim are outlined below.
The Union is aware that there was considerable consternation about once off payments (OOPs) in lieu of salary increases for teachers in 2015. This was particularly so in medium to high fee paying schools where members were of the view that the payment of reasonable increases would have been well within the capacity of the school. In many cases teachers argued that increased school fees and resources and added demands on teachers warranted reasonable salary increases.
Across our membership in independent schools in both the incremental and standards MEAs, the Union has had a strong message that OOPs would not be acceptable in the next agreement. Members seek salary increases that take account of their very significant contributions to their schools.
The Union is seeking a 9% salary increase (3% per annum 2017-2019) for teachers and support staff.
This topic is always on the agenda, but teacher work intensification is clearly the issue with the most currency in schools. Union members express concern about increasing demands generated by technology, assessment and reporting, parental and student expectations, changing curriculum, co-curricular activities, school events, accreditation and standards requirements and professional development and meeting demands among other issues.
The IEU Council met on Saturday 19 March. Two motions were tabled by branches of the Union and both were carried unanimously. The first called for action including the implementation of “a campaign to address the causes of excessive work hours in schools”.
The second motion was specific to independent schools and “formally requests that the IEU seeks a clause to be included in the new AIS schools EA which enables school chapters to negotiate workload agreements with their employers”. Further the branch regarded this issue as “an important component of the upcoming negotiations”. The Union wishes to explore mechanisms to address work intensification needs in schools covered by the MEAs. The Union includes suggested solutions to address work intensification in the preliminary claim including the provision of school based consultative committees or a provision to enable workplace agreements in schools.
Other elements of the preliminary claim for teachers also address workload issues including expanded support for teachers seeking proficient accreditation and reinforcement of appropriate notice for professional development and term dates.
Some elements of the preliminary claim are specific to Standards model schools including a review of the process for applications for Band 3 Experienced Teachers. The claim also seeks increased allowances for Level 3 and Level 4 Leadership positions and other matters relating to the provision of promotion positions.
The Union also is seeking specific reference to maintenance of ‘side deals’ in the EA at nominated schools.
Government and Catholic systemic schools now include a shorter salary scale for teachers based on standards. This may well impact on the future of the teacher incremental scale in AIS schools. The Union is claiming in any case the inclusion of an allowance for Highly Accomplished Teachers (HATs).
Currently a significant number of schools are failing to appoint ST1 thus disadvantaging teachers. The IEU encourages all eligible teachers to apply for ST1 during 2016.
The IEU is also seeking an increase in the Step 13 teacher rate.
There are some differences between the conditions for teachers in the NSW and ACT MEAs, in relation to accrual of sick leave and allowances for leadership positions. Promotions positions are to be further discussed in 2016 as agreed in December 2014. There are also significant differences between the NSW and ACT MEAs applying to support staff, with the ACT pay rates being higher for a number of classifications. The AIS has foreshadowed the possible inclusion of ACT schools in the NSW MEAs, but the IEU will oppose this if conditions of members in the ACT are not protected.
The Union again advises that this is a preliminary claim and is subject to change as we continue to consult with members and review the current MEAs. More details of the claims for both teachers and support staff will be sent to schools early in Term 2 and we will visit independent schools during the term as part of our consultation process. Contact your IEU Organiser for further information.