Hear Our Voice at the ballot box

The NSW election on 25 March is crucial for IEU members seeking salary justice commensurate with other professions.

The NSW salary cap, now more than a decade old, snares public servants and entangles Catholic systemic teachers and support staff in its tentacles.

Catholic systemic employers will not pay a cent more than our colleagues in government schools, nor will they provide it a day before.

This 30-year-old ‘parity principle’ allows Catholic systemic employers to control pay levels in NSW, even though Catholic systemic enterprise agreements are not constrained by the NSW Government’s wages policy – they are covered by the Fair Work Act in the federal industrial relations system.

It’s a tangled approach to industrial relations that is further complicated when you consider the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (NSWIRC) is shackled by the NSW Government’s wages policy.

Rather than taking a work-value approach to determine what a particular profession – say teachers and support staff – should be paid, the NSWIRC is forced to deliver a predetermined outcome, such as 2.5% annually.

The way forward is to support NSW Labor under Chris Minns. Minns attended the IEU’s Annual General Meeting in October 2022 and made it clear that if elected, the NSW salary cap would be axed and work value processes rightly returned to the industrial relations system.

This is a fair and reasonable approach – one that will provide teachers and support staff with a process that determines their worth. Put simply, the salary cap would be consigned to the dustbin of history, where it belongs.

The NSWIRC would then be empowered to carry out genuine industrial relations processes rather than simply constraining salary outcomes under a government policy that doesn’t consider factors such as staff shortages or the impact of inflation.

Want to be part of the fix?
Unions NSW (the peak body for all unions in NSW) will be providing an opportunity for IEU members to participate on election day.
IEU members who choose to take up the offer will be allocated a voting booth of their choice.
Generally, this is a two-hour commitment and involves handing out how-to-vote material.
Teachers and support staff engaging with their local community sends a strong signal. Communities do not want teacher shortages.
For more details: ieu.asn.au.