AIS bargaining update

IEU representatives have met twice this year with the Association of Independent Schools (AIS) to discuss our claim for new enterprise agreements for over 200 independent schools in NSW and the ACT.

The union is seeking three-year multi - enterprise agreements to provide for pay rises of 2.5% per annum (3% in the ACT) and improved conditions.

However, the AIS have advised very clearly that they do not intend to negotiate pay increases for 2021 and it is up to individual schools to determine the increase for their staff for 2021. They say new multi-enterprise agreements will not be finalised until later in Term 2 or Term 3 this year and will not include retrospective payments back to February or indeed from any date in 2021.

This leaves members in a small group of schools missing out. Members in schools that pay a low increase in 2021 or even worse no increase, will not get back pay in 2021 and will simply miss out on this pay. The union will of course insist that going forward, the pay rise in 2022 includes a percentage for 2021 as well as 2022, but this will not recoup the missing pay for 2021.

For this reason, Union Organisers are visiting members and non-members in the group of approximately 40 schools where no pay rise has been offered, to explain the problem. Staff in these schools must show their school administrations that they are not happy. A further problem is that if schools refuse to pay an increase in 2021, they will also struggle to meet the negotiated outcomes going forward for 2022 and beyond. This is in a context where Commonwealth funding has been indexed by 3% per annum.

Teacher Claims – Pay Models

The union has sought an increase in the Band 2 rate in Standards model schools – at present this rate of $99,000 is $9000 below the top Proficient rate in NSW government and Catholic systemic schools.

The union has also requested the Band 2 scale in Hybrid schools be shortened so you can reach the top rate more quickly.

In both models, we would like the band progression to apply immediately and not be held up to specified times each year.

Excessive workload

In some schools, as well as the overall increased intensity of the work, there are specific issues causing problems. These include excessive extras (exacerbated because of a shortage of casual teachers), increase in face-to-face teaching time, increase in the length of the school year, a lack of release for beginning teachers and their mentors, and a lack of reasonable notice for afterschool and PD commitments. The union is pressing the AIS for measures to address these problems.

Workload has also been identified as a key issue in government schools in the recent Gallop Report commissioned by the NSW Teachers Federation. The Federation is calling for a reduction in face-to-face teaching time in both primary and secondary schools of two hours per week. Any improvements in teaching time in government and Catholic schools will inevitably create expectations of improvements in independent schools.

Support staff

In addition to the pay rises, the union is seeking improvements in personal/carer’s leave and long service leave for support staff. These conditions are well belowthose applying to teachers and below the level applying to support staff in other school sectors.

Final word

If you have received a pay offer of below 2% or 2.5% for 2021 from your school, do not hesitate to contact your organiser for assistance in achieving a better outcome. Government schools, Catholic systemic schools and Catholic independent schools represented by CER (formerly CCER) have paid increases of 2.28% this year and Christian schools have paid either 2.3% or 2.25%. Many independent schools have paid 2.5%.