Navitas impasse


Regular readers would be aware that your Union has been negotiating for a new agreement with Navitas English for well over a year now. Discussions have certainly reached an impasse, with management unable to get their agreement approved, but unwilling to improve their salary offer.

IEU and Navitas management met in late May, and some small breakthroughs were achieved. Your Union had tabled a workloads clause, which laid out parameters within which appropriate workloads should be developed, and this clause was accepted by NE. Management also accepted, with some modification, an expansion of the coverage of the ‘off-site hour’ for teachers, so that it can now apply to part timers and regular casuals.

However, salary is still a sticking point, with the long standing offer of 2% (from 1 July 2015) plus 2% (from 1 July 2016) plus 2.5% (from 1 July 2017) unchanged. Management did offer to improve back-pay arrangements for casuals, which would offer a significant one off payment for the 48% of staff that are casuals.

Members feel that these small moves, welcome as they are, were insufficient to end the dispute, and so members undertook a further bout of industrial action, for two hours, on 9 June.

New South Global

Your Union, in conjunction with the NTEU, has been meeting with NSG since February, to draft an agreement which would merge the two previously distinct operations of Foundation Studies and the Institute of Languages (UNSWIL). The parties have been meeting fortnightly. In early June, management tabled what they claimed was their ‘final’ offer, of 3% per annum, along with a range of other matters already agreed, though there are still many areas of disagreement.

Both Unions have applied for and been granted orders for a Protected Action Ballot, in order to allow members to undertake industrial action if management does not improve their offer sufficiently. Ballots will be sent out to members in the week starting 6 June, and all members are encouraged to take part.

Other agreements

Your Union has also been busy bargaining at several other centres, including WSU College (alongside the NTEU and the CPSU), Mission Australia (with the ASU), Navitas English Services, Navitas English ACT, Sydney College of English, Access Language Centre, and Universal English College.

Of these, negotiations at WSU College are most advanced. Management tabled an offer of 2.5% per annum in March, but this was rejected by members. The Unions are seeking an improved salary offer, along with improvements in superannuation, job security, and arrangements for curriculum coordinators. Further meetings are scheduled for 15 and 22 June.

Election News

With the federal election now confirmed for 2 July, members should be on the lookout for offerings from the major parties. The most high profile policy affecting this sector so far has been the ALP’s pledge to cap HECS payments for students at private VET colleges to $8000 per student. This sector has seen many scandals involving colleges preying on vulnerable students, and while this should make such practices much less attractive, care needs to be taken so that the more reputable colleges do not suffer collateral damage.

Teachers may also take the opportunity of the election to teach their students about the Australian political system. There will be no end of possible resources put through your letterbox between now and election day, and the mass media and on-line sources will have lots of information that can be used.

Minimum Wage increase
At time of writing, the Fair Work Commission handed down its annual minimum wage decision. The Minimum Wage will increase by 2.4% from 1 July, and all award rates, including those in the Education Services (Post-Secondary Education) Award 2010, will increase by the same amount.
Kendall Warren