Catholic independents: Union negotiating your pay and conditions

Gloria Taylor
Deputy Secretary

Current Multi-Enterprise Agreements (MEAs) in NSW Catholic independent schools expire at the end of December this year and the Union has entered into bargaining with the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (CCER) for new agreements for 2017. Members have advised the Union that they have been issued with Representational Rights Notices from their employers.


The CCER has proposed a number of separate MEAs for teachers.

The first would apply to those schools following the Association of Independent Schools (AIS) Standards model. The IEU recently reached in principle agreement with the AIS and the pay offer is 2.3% from February 2017, 2.5% from February 2018, 2019 and 2020.

We expect the rates in Catholic ‘Standards’ schools to reflect AIS rates. Although these pay increases are modest, the Union considers they would be a good outcome in the current low inflation economic climate. The Union has also negotiated improvements to the Independent Schools Teacher Accreditation Authority (ISTAA) process of applying for Band 3 Experienced teacher.

The second MEA would apply to schools that have traditionally followed the salaries in Catholic systemic schools (Pay Schedule 10 – formerly List D). The employers seek to move to a standards model based on the new Catholic systemic and NSW government model. The model includes a somewhat shorter scale and bands associated with levels of accreditation. Salaries would continue to follow increases in Catholic systemic schools.

The employers hope to incorporate the remaining schools into one or more MEAs. These schools are on rates somewhere in between the above groups. Some of the pay scales currently include the classification of Senior Teacher 1 (ST1). The employers seek to phase out ST1. Although some schools would clearly be advantaged by this merger of approaches, the Union needs to ensure that any new arrangement works for everyone.

Personal/carer’s leave for teachers

There is a proposed change to sick and carer’s leave for teachers that would reflect more closely existing personal and carer’s arrangements in government and Catholic systemic schools. It is also in the package for AIS schools.

Although the annual entitlement is reduced to 15 days leave per year, we think the total package is better. All existing entitlements would be maintained and the leave is fully accumulative. There is also a bonus 15 days in the first year. There are a range of other benefits.

Other elements of the IEU claim are under discussion, including measures to address work intensification, like consultative committees and email protocols; requirements for notice for PD, meetings and term dates in the preceding calendar year and inclusion of minimum standards on workloads.

Support and operational (SAO) staff

The parties are at the beginning stages of bargaining for support and operational staff. Apart from general pay increases, our claim includes further increases for maintenance and outdoor staff and nurses, casual loading of 25% for all classifications, removal of the cap on the accumulation of sick leave and an overnight camp allowance.

As extensive work was done on the previous agreement, the Union does not expect major changes with the SAO MEA.

The Union is also seeking professional rates of pay for counsellors and therapists.

Further details will be provided as bargaining progresses. Feel free to contact your Organiser if you would like a chapter meeting to discuss the MEAs applicable in your school.