On behalf of the IEU I would like to thank principal members for your ongoing engagement with the union and for your support for your principal colleagues. This support has been especially vital during the challenges of this pandemic and the Catholic sector enterprise agreement negotiations.
With regard to the enterprise agreement negotiations, the IEU has welcomed the announcement by Catholic Commission for Employment Relations of agreement by all dioceses to pay the 2.5 percent increase for 2020, with backpay from the first full period on, or after, 1 January this year. This pay rise includes principals in the Sydney Archdiocese and the other 10 dioceses.
In relation to Catholic systemic sector EAs for principals, Sydney has retained its position that it wishes to bargain separately and issued Notices of Employee Representational Rights (NERRs) under the Fair Work Act to commence formal EA negotiations. (Despite earlier indications to the contrary, Parramatta will now join negotiations via CCER for a NSW/ACT principals’ EA.)
The IEU met with Sydney Catholic Schools (SCS) on 2 July and agreement was reached to progress EA negotiations. As part of these negotiations, the IEU has requested that pay rates be increased for certain EA salary bands in order to address some current anomalies between the Sydney and the NSW/ACT principals’ pay scales. There will also be discussions between the IEU and SCS about the link between step progression and contract renewal, given that Sydney contract renewal processes have changed.
Discussions will be pursued with CCER in relation to the EA for the other dioceses and, as always, the IEU will work with its principal members in all dioceses to achieve the best possible agreement to protect and enhance their interests.
With reference to some significant education issues, the IEU is aware of the concerns raised by many principals about the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data within the context of the recent impact of COVID-19 on schools. The IEU at NSW/ACT and at national levels, together with Catholic Schools NSW and the Association of Independent Schools, has been making representations to the Federal Government to seek some flexibility for 2020 NCCD requirements, similar to the relaxing of provisions for Semester 1 reporting.
The IEU understands that revised 2020 NCCD Guidelines were circulated to all education jurisdictions recently and are published on the NCCD Portal (see www.nccd.edu.au/). It is noted, however, that some systems of schools may seek to interpret these guidelines in their own ways. The IEU will continue to engage with our members, including principals, in relation to NCCD and welcomes your perspectives as school leaders.
In regard to the NSW Curriculum Review, the IEU’s position is that the implementation of the review must be effective, not just quick. There must also be appropriate consultation with principals and school staff. While there is support for ‘decluttering’ the curriculum, there are concerns if there is a simplistic, politicised ‘back to basics’ approach and also about the workload implications of a rushed three-year timeline.
The Term 3 IEU Principals Sub Branch meeting is scheduled via Zoom for Saturday morning, 8 August. Meetings can also be arranged with IEU principal members in diocesan, regional or sector groups.