Bargaining in independent schools

The IEU is negotiating for better pay and conditions for members in many independent schools.

AIS independent schools

The Fair Work Commission approved multi-enterprise agreements (MEAs) for teachers and support staff in about 200 independent schools represented by the Association of Independent Schools (AIS) in December 2021 and March 2022.

A number of schools that weren’t included in the first round for various reasons were included in “mop up” subsequent agreements identical to the first round of MEAs. These are still before the Commission.

Members should know of improvements in the new MEAs as these are now legally binding. For early career teachers, a key change in the Standards and Hybrid Model MEAs is the date of progression to the Proficient Teacher pay level – this now takes effect from the next pay period after you are gain Proficient status.

You can check your new rate of pay and your conditions by logging into the IEU website ( with your membership number. Do not hesitate to contact the Organiser for your school if you have any concerns.

Catholic independent schools

The IEU has been seeking to negotiate new multi-enterprise agreements for teachers and support staff employed in Catholic independent schools. But we are not close to any finalised agreements.

Model A schools

In last Newsmonth we reported that negotiations for new multi-enterprise agreements (MEAs) for the eight Model A Catholic independent schools had stalled in Term 1. IEU members were unhappy about the proposed pay increases offered by Catholic Employment Relations (CER) on behalf of the schools. The proposed pay rises were broadly in line with those that were agreed in mid 2021 for Association of Independent Schools (AIS) MEAs but these increases look miserly in the light of current and predicted inflation.

The union suggested a one-year agreement as an alternative to an agreement until December 2024. This was not agreed. On 31 May CER advised the IEU that the schools had no “new information relevant to bargaining”.

However, “some of the schools” have agreed to pay an administrative increase of 2.04% backdated to February, in accordance with the usual payment date in the relevant MEA.

The IEU is unclear which schools will not pay an increase and has sought further advice from CER on this point. Please contact your IEU Organiser to advise of the increase that has been paid to staff in your school.

Model B and C schools

Although the group of about 30 Model B and C Catholic independent schools issued Notices of Employee Representational Rights in Februarythis year, no negotiating meetingswere held until 30 May. This wasdespite the IEU requesting severaltimes that bargaining commence andthat a pay increase be paid administratively to staff.

Chapters in several schools met in late May to express solidarity with members in Catholic systemic schools who were stopping work on 27 May and requesting that bargaining commence for Model B and C schools.

At the meeting on 30 May, CER advised that some Model B and C schools would pay an increase and it was agreed that a regular schedule of meetings would occur. The union spoke to our claim and requested that independent schools meet directly with the union to discuss how to address workload pressure in independent schools (rather than this issue be discussed only with CER).

After the meeting, the IEU received a letter from CER about an administrative pay increase stating: “We understand that all schools are participating; however, this letter does not guarantee that every school will award an administrative increase or that the increase will be of a particular sum.”

This is mystifying. Please let your Organiser know of the increase being paid in your school. We will keep members informed on the progress of bargaining.