Catholic sector negotiations
Within the context of Enterprise Agreement (EA) discussions, the IEU has appreciated the opportunity to meet recently with principal members in the Bathurst Diocese and the eastern and southern regions of the Sydney Archdiocese.
Term 4 principals’ meetings are scheduled for Forbes, Wagga Wagga, Wollongong, Armidale and Lismore. Discussions are underway for a meeting with IEU members in the Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese.
Following representations by the IEU to the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (CCER) and resolutions endorsed by principal members calling for formal negotiations to commence, most dioceses issued Representational Rights Notices (formal bargaining notices) in the final week of Term 3.
Noting these developments, the IEU met with CCER on 30 September to advance EA discussions. Matters raised at the meeting included:
- possible future principals’ classification and remuneration structures
- clarity and transparency around renewal/sabbatical leave for principals and provision of ‘tools of trade’ such as electronic devices formalisation of payment arrangements for ‘casual’ principals and principals with boarding facilities attached to their schools
- a review of the remuneration of principals in central schools, and
- wellbeing issues (as raised by principals in the CCER consultation on 4 August and by principals with the IEU).
Given the range and complexity of these matters, especially possible future models of remuneration, the IEU would be concerned if a delay in finalising the EA affected the salary increase due in January, 2016 or access to the personal carer’s leave benefits now available to teachers under their EA.
It is therefore proposed that a one year principals’ agreement be finalised to secure pay and core leave conditions, as well as any other matters which can be quickly resolved to modernise the EA.
2016 would therefore see opportunities for full consultation and negotiations to ensure a future Catholic systemic principals’ EA which appropriately recognises and remunerates principals for their complex and challenging roles.
The IEU is next meeting with CCER on 21 October and we look forward to keeping principals’ informed of these discussions and the progress of the EA. A full report will be provided at the Term 4 IEU Principals’ Branch meeting on 7 November and at the various forthcoming IEU regional or diocesan gatherings.
In the independent sector, the Union is continuing to support principals dealing with a range of issues such as board interference, restructuring and redundancies, and funding and resourcing concerns.
A teleconference will be held for independent sector principal members on 29 October.
ACU/Teachers Health Fund Wellbeing Survey
The IEU has encouraged principal members to participate in the ACU/Teachers Health Fund survey to identify their own issues and also to assist in the overall provision of data to inform EA negotiations. As noted, principals who attended the recent CCER consultations have reported that workload and wellbeing issues were identified by participants as significant areas of concern.