The Multi Enterprise Agreements (MEAs) for teachers in NSW and ACT AIS schools expire at the end of January 2017. As this is the final year of the MEAs, the IEU will seek meetings with school chapters from Term 1 to review the structure and content of the agreements. We also anticipate early discussions with the AIS.
Teachers’ incremental MEA
NSW government and Catholic systemic schools now have agreements based on teaching standards. The agreements take into account the movement of new teachers to the Proficient level, but also recognise and award attainment of the optional Highly Accomplished level.
The reduced steps on the salary scale result in salary benefits for teachers progressing through the scale. As a result of the national accreditation agenda, such classification models are also being adopted in other Australian jurisdictions.
The NSW AIS incremental model currently contains 13 steps plus ST1 at the top of the scale. The ST1 (Senior Teacher) classification should be available in all schools to all Step 13 teachers who successfully complete a school based process.
The IEU is concerned that a growing number of schools are failing to offer or encourage access to ST1. ST1 rates are about 5.5% above government and Catholic rates. This benefit diminishes significantly, however, if teachers do not access ST1. Further for those progressing up the scale, the 13 steps model will not provide the improved salary benefits soon to be available to government and Catholic systemic teachers.
The Union is eager to ensure that all eligible teachers gain access to ST1 during 2016 and will visit chapters to assist members with this issue. It is also timely to review the salary and classification structure of the incremental agreement and introduce a shorter scale in the next MEA. This could be straightforward as teachers are already engaged by requirement in accreditation at the Proficient teacher level. BOSTES also has in place an optional process for meeting the Highly Accomplished standards level.
Teachers under both Multi Enterprise Agreements (MEAs) will receive a 2.3% salary increase on or after 1 February 2016. There will also receive a small payment (0.2% of the annual rate) to superannuation on the first full pay period on or after 1 July this year. (see page 1).
Salary increases going forward will be negotiated this year. The Union will refuse any further offers of ‘one off payments’ (OOPS), but we are aware that employers do not appear to be suggesting further one off payments.
Despite OOPs payments in 2015, independent school teacher salaries sit approximately 5.5% (incremental MEA) and 7.5% (standards model MEA) above government and Catholic teachers rates at the top of the scale.
A significant issue with salaries is the payment of additional rates through ‘side agreements’ in higher fee paying independent schools. It will be important to ensure that teachers voting on future agreements continue to have access to full knowledge of the school package (MEA plus ‘side agreement’) prior to voting.
A further issue for this round of negotiations involves professional development requirements including advanced notice, scheduling and content of PD in some schools.
The Union will contact IEU reps during term one to consult on negotiations towards new agreements.
Teachers’ standards model
The standards ‘3 Band’ model of agreement has been in place for nearly a decade. It was the first Australian teachers' agreement to be based on standards and it delivered significant pay increases for teachers in a large number of independent schools in NSW and the ACT. Australian teacher accreditation processes were still in their infancy when the Independent Schools Teachers Accreditation Authority (ISTAA) was established by the AIS to implement the ‘Experienced Teacher’ standards process as well as the optional ‘Professional Excellence’ level (linked with the High Accomplished level).
Particularly in the earlier years, the processes were cumbersome, demanding and difficult to achieve. The Union has negotiated significant improvements in ISTAA processes, but they should continue to be reviewed particularly in the light of government accreditation developments.