Bargaining in NSW Christian schools

The current NSW Christian Schools Teaching Staff Multi-Enterprise Agreement (MEA) expires in December and the Union is bargaining for a new agreement with employers.

For the first time, the Association of Independent Schools (AIS) is representing a small group of schools covered by this MEA. However nearly 50 schools continue to be represented by the Christian Schools Association. The Union is holding separate meetings with the AIS and CSA and each group of schools will be covered by a different MEA from 2018. Both employer groups intend to put an MEA to the vote of teachers in the relevant schools in November.

AIS schools

These negotiations are close to finalised. The AIS is proposing no change to the conditions under the MEA and has provided a draft enterprise agreement to the Union. The schools have substantially improved their pay offer to 2.3% in 2018 and 2.5% in 2019 and 2020. The Union expects that an enterprise agreement will be circulated to schools shortly.

CSA schools

CSA schools are proposing a significant reduction to personal leave (sick leave and personal/carer’s leave) in the new MEA. It is clear that under the new arrangements schools intend to reduce both the annual entitlement to personal leave and access to carer’s leave for existing teachers and new teachers. The Union has advised CSA that we do not accept these changes and will be advising members to vote against the new MEA unless there are significant improvements to personal leave. We have not yet received a draft of the proposed MEA nor of the proposed new personal leave clause.

The final pay offer has not been confirmed in writing but the Union expects to reach agreement on this issue.

What next

Members should discuss these issues with colleagues to ensure they are informed about the issues in the bargaining. In each case the vote on a new MEA will be conducted school by school. Particularly in CSA schools, it is essential that principals and business managers receive immediate feedback from teachers that they do not agree to a reduction in personal leave.

Carol Matthews
Assistant Secretary

SDA schools

The Union has met with members in schools in the Greater Sydney Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church to discuss their views on a proposed enterprise agreement. We also provided detailed written feedback and met with representatives of the conference to discuss our concerns about the draft. However, the conference did not agree to make any changes at the meeting. We are also seeking a meeting with representatives of the North NSW Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church about a draft enterprise agreement. This agreement was originally circulated to employees without following the necessary legal step of advising employees of their rights to be represented in negotiations. There was also no consultation with the Union. The Union has sought a meeting to discuss our concerns and expect this to occur shortly.