Christian Schools Australia

negotiations continue

Members will recall that the nominal expiry date of the current Multi Enterprise Agreement (MEA) for general staff was at the end of December 2013 (although the agreement remains in force).

Since 2013 members should have received administrative pay rises in 2014, 2015 and 2016 but there has been no new enterprise agreement. The negotiations stalled in mid 2015 when the parties sought to finalise the Teaching Staff Multi Enterprise Agreement.

Negotiations have now resumed and the IEU has met on a number of occasions with bargaining representatives of Christian Schools Australia (CSA). CSA has proposed a revised draft with a number of changes.

The Union has raised concerns about a number of these changes and CSA has agreed to look at those to ensure consistency across classifications of the qualifications required for particular levels.

In the Union’s view, some of the changes may have suggested that tertiary qualifications or other specialist skills were required for school support or more senior clerical positions, where such are not currently required.

There are also a number of areas where the Union is concerned conditions may not meet the ‘better off overall test’ necessary for the agreement to be approved by the Fair Work Commission (such as the span of ordinary hours).

The Union also raised the issue of paid maternity leave should the Turnbull Government’s proposal regarding parental leave pay be adopted. Members would be aware that under this proposal an individual cannot access both employer and government paid parental leave and yet the MEA paternity leave is designed as a top up to the government scheme.

The Union hopes to shortly receive a revised proposal with a clear pay offer from CSA. The Union anticipates increases of between 2% and 2.5% on top of current rates being paid as recommended by CSA.