Christian schools offer: Just not good enough

Christian Schools Australia (CSA), which represents 35 Christian school employers, is holding on to a position that would see Christian school teacher members paid a mere 1.5% increase in 2025 and 2026.

While CSA has said the agreement will mean salaries catch up to those paid in Catholic systemic schools and NSW government schools this year, it wouldn’t commit to preventing salaries from falling below that benchmark again during the life of the agreement.

The recent NSW government public sector pay offer (inclusive of legislated superannuation increases) is: a 4% increase this year; a 3.5% increase in 2025; and a further 3% increase in 2026. This is the starting point for negotiations, and it throws the paltry CSA offer into stark relief.

The enterprise agreement for NSW government school teachers expires in October this year but we believe the NSW government will not offer pay rises inferior to those on the table for other public sector employees.

When the IEU conducted a survey of Christian school members asking, ‘Do you think the IEU should agree to the offer proposed?’, 92 per cent of respondents resoundingly rejected that offer.

Of the numerous comments members made in this survey, this one speaks volumes:

“It is not appropriate that teachers in CSA schools are paid less than our counterparts in other NSW schools. I am continually disappointed (and a little insulted) that our employers do not consider it important that we are paid and valued at the same level as teachers in other school systems. We should simply be paid an equal amount. By not paying us equally, we may well lose quality teachers to other systems, and may not attract quality new teaching staff, thus devaluing our own system. Please insist that CSA simply agrees to pay us as much as the other schools in our state.”

Another one of our members provided us with the following quote from theologian, author and Christian school principal Graham Leo: “Christian schools ought to be leaders in good industrial relations. Trade unions were commenced by Christians who were outraged by the unethical treatment of workers. It was the followers of John Wesley in England who campaigned for the rights of workers to receive fair wages.”

Considering the NSW government’s public sector pay offer, the IEU will again press CSA to reconsider its position.

We extend a warm welcome to new members who have joined to be part of this campaign. We also encourage all our members in CSA schools to invite your colleagues to join the union and this fight for reasonable and just salary increases.

George Maniatis
Industrial Officer