Present Tense

Rallying for respect

Kendall Warren

Award increases

From 1 July, all modern award rates will be increased by 3%, in line with the Fair Work Commission’s annual minimum wage decision. Most employees in the private post-secondary college sector are employed under the relevant modern award, the Educational Services (Post-Secondary Education) Award 2010, and all rates in this award will also increase.

This means that for teachers on Level 3, annual salaries will increase from $49,039.77 to $50,510.96, while casuals will see their hourly rate increase from $46.97 to $48.38. Teachers on Level 7 will see their annual salary go up to $56,236.12, and the casual hourly rate to $53.87, while Level 11 teachers will now have an annual salary $62,498.42 and a casual hourly rate of $59.86.

Rates will similarly increase for support staff, with Level 3 staff now having a weekly minimum pay of $924.32, while Level 6 staff will now get paid at least $1,197.89 per week.

These increases, while welcome, are still far below what was sought by the union movement, and still a good bit less than average salaries in enterprise agreements. Agreements generally provide for superior pay and conditions than the award – to find out how that might work at your college, contact your Union, the IEU.

Industrial action

Your Union has for some months been negotiating (alongside our sister union, the NTEU) with UNSW Global, the pathways college at UNSW. While some progress has been made, the college still refuses to move on key issues, such as job security and pay increases. As a result, members of both unions have voted to authorise industrial action.

The ballot took place in early June, and IEU members overwhelmingly supported all eight of the proposed forms of industrial action, by substantial margins. NTEU members also strongly supported identical questions in their ballot.

Negotiations with the college are continuing, and as always, we remain hopeful that an acceptable settlement can be achieved. However, with a salary offer of just 2% per annum, and a job security offer of just 20 jobs (some or all of which may well be only on temporary contracts), it seems unlikely at this stage that we will agree terms quickly.

Consequently, members downed tools for a three hour stoppage on Tuesday 2 July and will consider further action as may be required. See pictures above and further details below.

Other agreements

In happier news, your Union has recently concluded agreements with several colleges. At Insearch, the Fair Work Commission has recently approved an agreement providing for 2.5% increases, an improved criteria for selecting sessional teachers, and an annual paid union meeting. At Sydney College of English, terms were recently agreed providing for 2% annual increases, a casual conversion clause, and access to arbitration.

At UoW College (at Wollongong University), staff have recently approved an agreement allowing for increases of 2.3% per annum. Meanwhile, at Navitas English NSW, an agreement was recently lodged, providing for pay increases of the Wages Price Index (2.3% in 2019) and an improved Classification structure for support staff.

Your Union is also currently bargaining at Navitas English Services and Embassy English, and will soon commence discussions at Navitas English ACT, and WSU The College. Contact your Union is you would like arrange negotiations at your workplace.

College closure

In June, the owners of Access Language Centre announced that the college would be closing its doors on 30 August. Your Union understands that the owners had been attempting to find a buyer for the long standing college, but the deal fell over when the existing landlord refused to renegotiate the building lease.

Teachers at the college are covered by an enterprise agreement (negotiated previously by the IEU), which provides for, among other things, redundancy pay for sessional teachers. Officers from your Union have been meeting with members at the college, who have been advised that all ongoing and sessional teachers will also be entitled to any accrued annual leave, and that all teachers (including casuals) with at least five years of continuous service will be entitled to a pro rata long service leave payment.

College staff seek job security and respect
IEU members took to the streets of Kensington on 2 July to express frustration to management of UNSW Global, which is refusing to compromise on their demands for a pay rise, job security and professional respect.
Some casual staff at the college have been requesting permanency for years.
Alongside the NTEU, the members took part in a three hour stop work and rally outside the college.
UNSW Global IEU rep Liz Bankes, who has taught at the college for 11 years, said “We are seeking a pay rise and just to be taken more seriously, given more professional respect.
“We’ve never taken industrial action like this before so we will see where it leads us.”
UNSW Global provides a pathway for overseas students to improve their academic English and embark on university courses at the University of NSW.