A new working party gives support staff a voice in NSW Catholic systemic schools.
The Catholic Employment Relations (CER)/IEU Support Staff Joint Working Party held its first meeting in February. The meeting was a chance for members to share experiences and professional history.
The working party has 10 members: five employer representatives, including a member of the CCER staff and four representatives from the dioceses. The five union representatives include two IEU industrial officers and three members working in school administration, learning support and First Nations education.
The working party members are to achieving a fair and equitable outcome for the relevant occupation groups. There is a significant amount of work to be done, with meetings scheduled through to the beginning of Term 3 2021.
In 2019, the Public Service Association used the pay equity framework to achieve significant wage improvements for administrative and support staff in NSW public schools.
This achievement was the result of more than six years of hard work by the Public Service Association and its members to have their work properly valued.
The IEU took up the fight
This fight was taken up by the IEU in 2019, even before the outcome was known in the public sector, on behalf of support staff members in Catholic systemic schools.
The union is seeking to mirror public school outcomes in Catholic systemic schools to ensure parity between the sectors is maintained.
It should be noted school operational staff, such as cleaners, maintenance staff and canteen employees, are employed under a different award in the public sector and were not part of the changes made last year. These roles are not within the working party’s remit.
In October and November 2021, teachers and support staff in Catholic systemic schools voted on a new enterprise agreement, cementing improved conditions and a pay rise of 2.28% in January 2021.
Unfortunately, despite its inclusion in the union’s claim, the parties were not able to incorporate the public sector outcomes at that time.
However, as part of the settlement, the parties resolved to undertake a comprehensive review of the classification structure and comparative wage rates of Catholic diocesan support staff working in school administrative and learning support roles, compared with their public sector counterparts. Hence, this joint review and assessment process now underway.
The next step
The next phase of the consultation process is in-depth interviews with members working in the occupational groups being considered by the working party. These interviews, along with the data collected in the survey undertaken in late 2020, will form the basis of statements and other material for the Joint working party’s consideration.
If you would like to be part of the union’s consultation process, let your IEU organiser know, or email Carolyn Moore: firstname.lastname@example.org