Present tense:

Good news for casuals

The post secondary college sector is rife with casualisation and other forms of insecure work, which is one of the main reasons that salaries and conditions fall so far behind those in other areas of education. It is to be welcomed, then, that the Fair Work Commission has agreed to include a ‘casual conversion’ clause in the modern award, the Educational Services (Post-Secondary Education) Award 2010.

Once the new provision takes effect, which is likely to be later this year, casual employees with at least 12 months of continuous service, defined in the award as having no more than eight weeks break between engagements, will be able to apply to have their employment converted to an ongoing role.

This may have some downside for many casuals, who are compensated for their lack of job security by receiving a 25% casual loading on top of the standard pay. This means that if they elect to make their position ongoing, then they will lose that loading. However, on the upside, those to who do ‘go permanent’ will receive paid annual leave and personal (sick) leave, and will have far more security at work. Casuals, after all, can be put off with minimal notice, but permanents can plan for regular work for the indefinite future.

Post secondary seminar

As part of the IEU’s ongoing service for employees working in the post secondary sector, your Union will be holding a seminar on issues facing the industry. This seminar will look at the industrial landscape of the sector, opportunities and threats in the future, and how your Union can help improve things where you work. The seminar will be held at the IEU’s offices in Ultimo on 25 October, and further details will be sent to all members in the near future.

Agreements round up

In late July, your Union reached an agreement in principle with Navitas English ACT, the main provider of the Adult Migrant English Program in the capital. Until now, there has been no agreement in place, so the very act of securing one is an important step forward. The new agreement will provide for salary increases of around 2% per annum, backdated to 1 October 2016, along with a $500 sign on payment.

The agreement will also include provisions relating to remote work locations, and for working from home. Special thanks should go to the hard working staff reps Jakki Cashman, Julie Halse and Jo Bragg.

Agreements have also been finalised at Embassy English (now lodged with the Fair Work Commission) and Navitas English Services NSW (approved by FWC) and are fast reaching an acceptable conclusion at Australian Pacific College, and Sydney English Language Centres (SELC). Salaries are likely to come in for each of these at or above the average (the Wages Price Index has been stuck under 2% for some time now), yet again proving the value of IEU membership.

Enterprise agreements typically provide for salaries and conditions which are superior to the modern award. To find out how this might work in your college, contact your Union, the Independent Education Union on

Kendall Warren