Why is our work worth less?

Independent schools are a diverse and dynamic part of the education system within Australia. The complex and often unique circumstances within independent schools are well-known but have become increasingly obvious in the negotiation and settlement of the various enterprise agreements currently up for renewal.

I am a teacher at an independent Catholic school and my employer is proposing a shift from an incremental system, where teachers advance pay scales on an annual basis, to a three-band model, where advancement and pay increases are dependent on the successful application to the next band.

If we agree to this, teachers, like myself, that are already on the top ‘step’ would automatically transition to Band 3 but colleagues that are on Step 11 or lower would need to go through a rigorous application and accreditation process that has been likened to completing a university course, with little school-based support.

The proposal would also see us paid less than teachers at other schools on the same model. Why is our work worth less? For my school this is an ongoing debate and one that my chapter will continue to discuss and seek advice from the Union as we begin Term 2.

For those Catholic independent school Chapters yet to finalise and agree upon their new enterprise agreements I urge you to open the conversation among your colleagues. Call a chapter meeting of members as soon as possible and invite your IEU Organiser along.

Louise Glase
Vice President, Teachers, Non-Systemic