The IEU is campaigning for better pay and conditions for teachers and support staff in Catholic diocesan schools. Here we report on progress – and next steps.
The enterprise agreement covering teachers and support staff in Catholic diocesan schools expired on 31 December 2021. The IEU had already lodged a claim with Catholic dioceses in November 2021.
The dioceses finally came to the bargaining table on 2 February 2022, with subsequent meetings on 23 February, 23 March and 20 April. (The employers cancelled one meeting, scheduled for 10 March, for technical reasons to do with the Notice of Employee Representational Rights.) The dioceses were represented by Catholic Employment Relations (CER) and representatives of some individual dioceses at the meetings.
You can read all the background in Newsmonth#2:
The union’s claims
The union’s claims for the new enterprise agreements (covering members in 600 Catholic diocesan schools in NSW and the ACT) include:
- Pay teachers what they’re worth (an increase of 10% to 15% over two years)
- Give support staff a fair deal
- Let teachers teach – cut paperwork
- Allow time to plan
- End staff shortages.
Further details of our claims are set out in the February NewsExtra on our website: bit.ly/NewsExtraFeb22
The employers’ offer
The union received the employers’ first written response to our claims after the meeting on Wednesday 6 April. The Diocesan Directors also circulated this response to employees. While the union acknowledges that the meeting on 6 April was conducted with goodwill and that some progress was made, the employers’ response falls short in almost all areas. For example:
- there is no pay offer for teachers in addition to the 2.04% increase already paid
- although dioceses have agreed in principle to increase support staff pay rates to a level comparable with the rates paid to support staff in government schools, no specific proposal has been put to the union, and the phase-in period of the new rates is also unacceptably long (new rates will not be phased in fully until 2024)
- here is no offer to improve casual teacher pay as a measure to address the teacher shortage issue
- employers have refused to improve long service leave for support staff
- employers have not agreed to additional face-to-face release other than a one-off offer of an additional pupil-free day in 2022 (to be directed by principals).