Union win: CSO Maitland Newcastle Coordinator dispute

Amanda Hioe
Industrial Officer

Thanks to four brave IEU members who came forward to fight for their rights, the IEU achieved a major victory for key learning area Coordinators working in the Catholic Schools Office Maitland-Newcastle Diocese (CSO Maitland-Newcastle).

In November 2021, the IEU became aware that a union member had had their long-held promotions position dropped from a 3-point Coordinator position to a 2-point Coordinator position.

Upon further investigation by IEU Organiser Therese Fitzgibbon, the IEU found there were other members who had had their coordinator positions reduced without substantive justification or consultation. The reductions in these promotions positions were the result of unilateral decision of the CSO Maitland-Newcastle.

The IEU made relentless and continuous efforts to engage the CSO Maitland-Newcastle in meaningful discussions to reinstate these members to their positions.

The IEU insisted on compliance with the terms of the applicable enterprise agreement and, when no resolution was in sight, the IEU referred the matter to the industrial umpire, the Fair Work Commission.

While the matter did not proceed to a hearing before the Commission, the IEU pressured CSO Maitland-Newcastle into reinstating the members to their rightful 3-point Coordinator positions.

In addition, CSO Maitland Newcastle agreed that Coordinator appointments would be made on the basis of the total number of class hours per week according to this table:

The table above means that a 1-point, 2-point or 3-point coordinator would be appointed to each key learning area regardless of whether the coordinator looks after one or more subjects.

For example, a Human Society and its Environment (HSIE) Coordinator, who may be coordinating across 10 subjects in the school, is a 3-point Coordinator as long as they are coordinating more than 108 hours of class hours per week over the school year. Similarly, an English Coordinator will also be appointed as a 3-point Coordinator where they are coordinating more than 108 hours of class hours per year over the school year.

The IEU was informed that as a result of this new approach to coordinator appointments, 18 employees have been found to be better off, with significant improvements to their pay.

The IEU commends those four brave members who stood up for their rights and won more not only for themselves but for their colleagues as well.