Agreements for almost all AIS schools

Multi-enterprise agreements have now been made for almost all NSW and ACT Association of Independent Schools (AIS) schools.
The Fair Work Commission has approved NSW Teachers and Support and Operational Staff Multi-Enterprise Agreements (MEAs) that were voted on last year, both in the first round in October and subsequently in December. The schools that voted in December included six of the nine schools that had voted ‘no’ in the October vote (others re-voted because a failure by the school to follow Fair Work Commission processes).
Staff in a further nine NSW schools voted in February, including a number of schools that had failed to put the MEA to employees in the earlier votes. The MEA was approved by employees in eight of the nine schools, in some cases following specific commitments given by the school to staff.
In one school, Monte Sant’ Angelo, the vote was not carried by teachers and the Union will consult with members as to the next step.
An MEA was also approved in February by teachers in four ACT independent schools.
The Union continues to assist members in schools where there was a 'yes' vote subject to specific commitments given by the school.
There may be members in a small number of independent schools who have not been offered a new MEA. Please contact the Union for assistance if this is the case.

Still no offer on ACT teacher pay

Pay issues for teachers in the ACT are still in dispute.

The Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (CCER) proposed new enterprise agreement (EA), released in April 2014, sought to bring teachers and support staff in the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn into the one agreement with employees in NSW. However early learning centre staff were excluded from the proposed agreement.

The proposed pay rates for NSW teachers were based on the NSW government pay structure. There were no pay rates for the ACT but a statement that “alignment of salary increases to the ACT Department of Education is a long standing practice of the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn to observe the principle of parity”. In other words the Archdiocese would match the ACT government increases to teachers in government schools.

ACT public sector

Although no new EA has been made applying to teachers in ACT government schools, in 2014 the ACT Government offered its teachers pay increases of 1.5% backdated to 1 October 2014, 1.5% from 1 April 2015, and continuing 1.5% pay rises each April and October until 1 April 2018. This offer has not been accepted by the Australian Education Union and negotiations are continuing about workload issues. The last pay rise for teachers in the ACT teachers in government and Catholic schools was 2.5% from 1 April 2014.

Catholic negotiations

No formal pay offer has been made for ACT teachers by the CCER for 2014 or 2015 although in late 2014 the CCER proposed that ACT teachers should move to the NSW government school standards pay scale in 2016. In a recent meeting in Canberra it was suggested by the CCER that pay rises in 2015 should match the ACT government offer for 2015 (1.5% pay rises in April 2015 and October 2015) but there was no commitment to pay the 1.5% increase from October 2014. This would potentially leave ACT teachers behind both their ACT public sector colleagues and NSW teachers, who have been offered a 2.27% pay rise from 1 January 2015 and currently receive higher rates than teachers in the ACT. It has also been proposed as an option that ACT teachers could move to the NSW government schools standards structure in 2016, but using ACT rates of pay. The translocation from an incremental structure to the standards structure would need to be carefully reviewed and the Union considers, for this to be acceptable, that the rates would have to be not less than the comparable rates applying in ACT government schools.

Other outstanding issues in the negotiations include the pay and conditions for early learning centre and school aged care employees, the additional superannuation co-payment for ACT teachers, the conversion of the Exemplar Teacher classification into an automatic step and the flow on of any agreed conditions from the ACT public sector to Catholic schools.

Union position

The Union has insisted that teachers in ACT Catholic schools must as a minimum not be paid less than teachers in ACT government schools. We will advise members as soon as we receive a firm pay offer from the CCER. An acceptable outcome for the ACT is a fundamental issue in any resolution of the dispute about a new enterprise agreement.

Carol Matthews
Assistant Secretary