The Union has been frustrated by the slow progress made in finalising negotiations for a new enterprise agreement for staff in NSW Catholic independent schools.
The Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (CCER), representing all Catholic school employers, had signalled a desire to bring all the current separate agreements for teachers into a single combined agreement with a common set of conditions and entitlements, albeit with different salaries schedules to apply to individual schools or groups of schools.
This has not proven to be contentious given that there is no diminution of entitlements or conditions of employment. The status quo is to prevail for all schools. However following a round of consultations with members specifically in relation to the salaries offer over the 2015 and 2016 timeframe made on behalf of the various groups, some differential outcomes have posed problems.
These problems involve the transition from a current 13 step incremental scale to the 3 Band Standards model, which currently operates in a few Catholic independent schools.
There is a dispute relating to an attempt to pay rates lower than those which would apply in comparable 3 Band schools. A small number of individual schools have also raised questions concerning the quantum of salary increases proposed for their school.
The Union has written to and met with CCER concerning these anomalies but has yet to receive a satisfactory response. The Union has undertaken to meet further with CCER before the end of Term 2 to try to finalise an agreement.
In relation to support and operational staff,the Union is pleased that proposed increases of 2.5% per annum to salaries and allowances will be paid as percentage increases on current rates, not as one off payments of salary as had originally been proposed.
Negotiations continue with CCER around the inclusion of IT staff in any new agreement with appropriate salary bands and duties established at various levels of engagement.
Further drafting of documentation for both the teachers and support and operational staff agreements is required before any new agreement can progress to a vote.
The Union is hopeful of achieving this in the coming weeks to enable the consideration of back payment of salaries to occur as soon as possible. The IEU will keep members informed of any developments as soon as they occur.