Independent schools: Dates set for bargaining to begin

The IEU will be meeting with the Association of Independent Schools (AIS) in May and June as bargaining commences for new multi-enterprise agreements (MEAs) for teachers and professional, administrative and support staff.

The first meeting is scheduled for the week commencing 13 May. At this meeting, the AIS should give the union the list of schools involved in the bargaining – if your school is participating, you will receive a Notice of Employee Representational Rights (NERR).

IEU claim

By the time you receive this edition of Newsmonth, the IEU will have sent a NewsExtra to reps and members about our claim for the bargaining set to begin in the first week of Term 2.

Our general claims will include:

  • restore the pay premium for teachers in independent schools
  • provide a fair deal for professional, administrative and operational staff
  • address teacher workloads
  • improve paid parental leave in line with industry standards and pay superannuation on paid parental leave
  • guarantee fair processes.

The detail of these claims is set out in the NewsExtra and we’ll post updates on our website throughout the bargaining period.

Members can of course add specific claims to the general claims we have identified, just contact your organiser.

Hold a chapter meeting, pass the motion

The NewsExtra came with a separate motion to support the union’s claim. We urge reps and members to call a chapter meeting at your school to endorse this motion by the end of week 4 (Friday 24 May) and return it to the IEU (follow the link in the NewsExtra).

It is essential that as many members as possible attend these meetings to show employers just how important this bargaining process is to members.

We encourage the chapter to invite potential members to the meeting so they too can join the IEU and support this claim. Our bargaining power is greater when we have maximum member support in schools.

Under changes to the Fair Work Act that took effect in July 2023, we have more options in the bargaining process if we can demonstrate we represent the majority of employees.

In previous bargaining rounds, our rights were much more limited, hampering our ability to get the results members were pushing for in individual schools.

Now it’s time for real change. We need to work together so we can achieve it.

Teacher workload

Teacher workload is a substantial problem in independent schools. Independent schools have long resisted the IEU’s claims for greater regulation of workload, or even transparency about the expectations at a particular school.

Because of their independence, employers have refused to take coordinated measures to reduce teacher workload or negotiate with the union on the issue.

The IEU is calling on independent schools to agree to:

  • establish school-based committees to identify measures to reduce workload
  • set school-based standards on face-to-face teaching hours, release time, the number of meetings, duties, extras, and expected days of attendance including at weekends, recognising that excessive workload is a WHS issue
  • ensure full implementation of the new right to disconnect provisions
  • ensure work requirements are consistent with and do not exceed government expectations.

Next steps

IEU organisers will be visiting schools in the first weeks of Term 2 to discuss our claim and any issues you may like to add.

We ask you to ensure there is a union rep/chapter committee in your school. Ideally, the committee should include representatives of both teachers and professional, administrative and operational staff, as well as representatives from different sections or faculties within the school.

Invite all your colleagues, including teachers and all school staff, to join the IEU.

Through new industrial relations laws passed in the last 18 months, we have a real opportunity for reps and members to campaign actively for better salaries and conditions.

The union encourages all members in independent schools to embrace this process. We are always stronger together.