Arbitration agreed for NSW Catholic independent schools

Agreements applying to teachers and support staff in about 30 NSW Catholic independent schools expired at the end of 2019 and the union is currently negotiating new enterprise agreements. Pay rises were due from the beginning of 2020.

Employers have offered a 2.5% pay rise from the beginning of 2020 with a 2.28% increase in 2021. The increase in 2021 has been discounted from 2.5% to 2.28% because of the scheduled 0.5% increase in compulsory superannuation in July 2021. The union is seeking that if the increase in superannuation does not occur (as has been widely predicted) that the pay increase in 2021 should be 2.5% - employers have not yet agreed to this.

Unlike Catholic systemic schools, Catholic independent schools have not agreed to pay the 2020 increase before there is “Yes” vote on the enterprise agreements. The vote is scheduled for the middle of Term 3.

As reported to our members in June, one key outstanding issue in the negotiations was whether the disputes clause in the enterprise agreements included a right to arbitration of disputes by the Fair Work Commission. On 7 July 2020 the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (CCER) finally wrote to the union confirming they were prepared to agree to the right for the Commission to arbitrate disputes in Catholic independent schools. This was a reversal of their earlier position and followed motions in almost all the schools calling for this right.

Another improvement in the proposed enterprise agreements advised by CCER in July is a new entitlement to access emergency disaster leave, although the form of this leave proposed by CCER is quite limited and not yet agreed.

The IEU met with CCER on 15 July 2020 to discuss the drafting of the enterprise agreements. Negotiations will be ongoing over the next few weeks as we seek to resolve the remaining issues.