Agreement all round

Regular readers of this column would be aware that the Union has been busy bargaining for new agreements at several colleges during 2016. I am pleased to report that many of these are now being concluded, leading to immediately salary increases and other benefits for many members.

UNSW Global

At UNSW Foundation Studies, an agreement has been struck with management to finalise a new merged agreement covering both UFS and UNSWIL. Negotiations, conducted in conjunction with the NTEU, were sustained and intense, as the parties worked through the myriad issues that come up when attempting such an ambitious harmonisation. The end result is a great one, though, with salary increases of 3% per annum (for a three year agreement), better progression for English teachers, more transparent arrangements for casuals, and significant one off payments for all teachers. A big thank you to IEU representative Liz Bankes, who was tireless in her efforts.

Navitas English

Negotiations with Navitas English have been protracted (18 months at last count), but the agreement has now been finalised (with an 83% yes vote). While NE refused to improve their most recent salary offer of 6.5% (including 2% backdated to July, 2015) over three years, the Union was able to secure an improved workloads clause and a wider application for the existing off site work clause, to go with the other benefits achieved during the negotiations, including domestic violence leave, wider application for carers’ and compassionate leave, and more flexible annual hours. Special thanks to the staff reps, Saeid Khayam, Daniel Laurence, Vlasta Gunning and Vedran Stajic.

Mission Australia

Negotiations alongside the ASU were concluded in July, and the proposed agreement will provide for salary increases of 2.4% per annum (as well as 2.5% backdated to July 2015), and improvements in paid parental leave, an increase in personal leave, an improved redundancy scale, new provisions relating to domestic violence leave, and the inclusions of new provisions relating to both workloads and union activity.

SCE, Access and Universal

Teachers at SCE and Access will soon vote for new (identical) agreements, which will provide for 5.5% in salary increases over three years, improved redundancy entitlements, and new provisions relating to domestic violence leave and professional development. At Universal, teachers will soon vote on an agreement offering 5.3% over three years, new provisions on domestic violence leave, professional development, and improved arrangements for promotions positions. IEU endorses a ‘yes’ vote at each of these colleges.

Other agreements

Your Union is also involved in ongoing bargaining with several other colleges, including WSU The College, Taylor’s College, Navitas English Services, Navitas English ACT, and Sydney English Language Centre.

Of these, the WSU discussions are most advanced, with an industrial action ballot undertaken for members of both IEU and NTEU. Unfortunately, the ballot of IEU members failed to reach the return threshold (one vote short!), but the larger NTEU ballot was successful. Hopefully this will lead to a satisfactory conclusion to these negotiations in the near future.

Your Union will soon seek to commence negotiations at Kaplan International College, Australian Pacific College, and Embassy College. The Fair Work Act contains provisions around ‘good faith bargaining’, under which an employer must negotiate where it can be demonstrated that a majority of their employees (or section of employees, such as teachers) wish them to do so. Contact the IEU for more information.