Present Tense

One day stop work by Navitas English staff

As regular readers would know, your Union has been negotiating with Navitas English (NE) Pty Ltd to renew the enterprise agreement that expired in July. While agreement has been reached on many matters, the parties have been unable to agree on salary. Consequently, IEU members at Navitas were balloted by the Australian Electoral Commission around taking industrial action to further their claims.

The ballot was declared on Monday 9 November, and resulted in a strong endorsement of industrial action; 127 members were balloted and 79 valid votes were returned, easily enough to pass the 50% of returns required by the Fair Work Act. This means that members at NE can legally take protected industrial action.

Often, a successful ballot is enough by itself to pressure an employer into revising their approach, but NE have advised that they do not intend to move from their current offer of 2% per annum over three years.

As a result, a one-day stoppage will be held on Wednesday 2 December, with a rally to be held at the Trades Hall at Unions NSW. All members at NE are encouraged to take part in the action and to attend the rally.

NE Administrative Staff Rep Daniel Laurence said admin staff were strongly in support of taking industrial action, alongside the teachers.

“Over the last few years the workload for administrative staff has grown, while the potential to increase earnings has not; indeed a number of office admin staff had to reapply for their roles and saw a subsequent decrease in their salaries,” Daniel said.

“Some admin staff act as trainers, presenting workshops in class every day, and it is felt that the pay does not adequately reflect this. Also, upgrades in step for all admin staff are now based on performance rather than time served, which is a concern, as there is a lack of transparency in this process, ” he said.

Daniel said teachers and admin staff from colleges all over Sydney were planning to join the rally.

Other agreements

Your Union has also commenced negotiations with several other employers. Discussions with UWS College (in conjunction with the NTEU and the CPSU) started in August, and steady progress has been made. It is likely that an agreements will be reached in early 2016.

Meanwhile, negotiations at Insearch UTS are well-advanced, the parties have agreed in principle to a number of matters, and only a few areas of contention remain outstanding. The IEU is confident of finalising a settlement here by Christmas, although teachers are still seeking improved leave conditions.

Your Union has also started the process of negotiations at a number of other colleges, including UNSW Foundation Studies, EF Language Centre, SELC, Sydney College of English, Access Language Centre, Specialty Language Centre and Universal English College.

Unpaid superannuation

The IEU fields regular complaints from members in private colleges that their superannuation guarantee contributions are not being paid. Colleges often suffer from cash flow problems, and super contributions are no doubt seen as an easy thing to skimp on, given that most people don’t look at their super statements very often. In some cases, super has not been paid for over a year.

You should therefore be checking your superannuation statements regularly. Your employer is required to pay an additional 9.5% of your annual salary into your nominated fund (or the default fund, most often NGS Super, if you haven’t nominated one) at least once every quarter. This means your fund should receive your employer contributions by 28 January, 28 April, 28 July and 28 October each year.

NGS Super is the designated industry fund for non government education (including private colleges), and is one of the better performing funds. NGS Super will be more than happy to come to your college to give you more specific information on superannuation matters.

Season’s greetings

This will be last Present Tense for 2015. On behalf of everyone here at the IEU, we wish all the best for the festive season. See you again in 2016!

Kendall Warren