Independent schools key issues

All IEU chapters should have received copies of our May NewsExtra setting out the Union’s claims for members in NSW and ACT independent schools. As members will be aware the current multi-enterprise agreements (MEAs) for teachers in NSW and the ACT and the MEA for support and operational staff in NSW expire at the end of 2016. The ACT Support and Operational Staff MEA expired at the end of 2015.

Chapters have been urged to to meet and endorse the Union’s claims and let the IEU know that you have met. Any additional matters that chapters wish to raise should be included in your response to us. Do not hesitate to contact your union organiser if you would like them to attend the meeting or if you do not have a IEU rep in your workplace.

A key issue is the maintenance of side deals in schools that currently have them. A side deal is a payment that sits on top of the MEA rate, for example an extra 3% above the MEA rate. If your school does not specifically agree to maintain the margin in the side deal, then it is possible that future MEA increases of, for example 3%, will absorb the old side deal margin and members will get no net increase under the new MEA. It is crucial that this issue is clarified in writing by your school well in advance of the vote on the MEA.

Loquat Valley dispute

The Union has been in dispute with the Anglican Schools Corporation about precisely this issue under the current 2015-2017 Teachers MEA. In 2014 the school decided the existing side deal would not be maintained and the higher rates would be absorbed against the increases in the 2015-2017 MEA. However, teachers were not informed of this prior to the vote on the MEA and the Union has argued the employer misrepresented the effect of the MEA vote to teachers because there had been clear undertakings by the Association of Independent Schools (AIS) before the vote that side deals would be maintained.

Following a recent meeting with the AIS and representatives of the Anglican Schools Corporation, the Union is now optimistic that this matter can be resolved to the satisfaction of members.

Commencement of bargaining

The Union anticipates bargaining will commence with the AIS in mid June.

We expect that the notice of employee representative rights will be circulated by schools around this time as this is a necessary first step in the process. If your school has not issued this legal notice by the end of Term 2, contact your organiser immediately as it may mean that either your school will not be included in the bargaining for the new MEAs or that the school has overlooked the legal requirement to issue the notice. We will then need to follow up what is happening in your school with the AIS.

Do not hesitate to contact the Union if you would like more information about the bargaining processor about the Union’s claims.

Carol Matthews
Assistant Secretary