Independent schools bargaining

As members would be aware, the union has been bargaining for new multi-enterprise agreements (MEAs) for teachers and support staff employed in approximately 200 NSW and ACT independent schools.

Existing independent schools MEAs will expire at the beginning of 2021 and the Association of Independent Schools (AIS) commenced bargaining for new MEAs in late 2019.

Following a six-month pause in the bargaining process, the AIS has finally agreed to re-commence negotiations with the union. Meetings were held on 5 November and 24 November.

The 2021 percentage pay rise

But the AIS is still refusing to centrally negotiate pay rises for 2021!

Some schools have stated to staff that they are awaiting the outcome of negotiations between the union and the AIS before determining the pay rise from February. AIS has reiterated to the union that this will not happen – union members need to approach their own school to find out about the intended pay rise.

The union is aware of nearly 90 schools that have advised staff of pay rises for 2021. In the majority of these schools, the 2021 pay rise is 2.5%, in one or two instalments. If your school has not yet made its position clear, or if the offer is less than 2%, please contact your union organiser to discuss the next steps.

Other pay claims

The union has also sought increases to the Band 2 Proficient Teacher rate in Standards Model schools.

Currently the Band 2 rate is $99,000 compared to the 2021 top Proficient rate (achieved by incremental progression) in government and Catholic systemic schools of nearly $108,000.

We also consider the Band 3 rate in Hybrid Model schools, accessed after successfully completing the ISTAA process, should match the Band 3 rate in Standards schools – currently there is a $2000 discrepancy.

In relation to support staff, in addition to the general pay increases, our claim includes pay increases to match those awarded in 2019 to support staff in NSW government schools and under discussion next year in NSW Catholic systemic schools.

The AIS has not agreed to discuss any of these matters until the general pay increases are agreed and it has strongly opposed an increase in the Band 3 rate in Hybrid Model schools.

Conditions claims

The union will be seeking assistance of members at the Chapter level in 2021 to ask schools to review their position on the IEU claims. At this stage, there is no consent by the AIS to any improvements in conditions, but the AIS has agreed to further discussions on some issues.

The next steps

Many schools that have not currently made a pay offer will review their position once enrolments are clear for 2021. This is likely to be the case from Week 3 of Term 1 next year.

The union therefore expects that bargaining both on the pay rises and the conditions claims will resume more seriously early in Term 1. We will update members at this time.