As you know, negotiations on your new Enterprise Agreement are continuing to progress. Since the commencement of bargaining in April, employers have listened to your feedback and have been working with the union to develop a new agreement that responds to your concerns while taking into account the changing needs of our schools, staff and students.
We have worked through the majority of issues, and while there are still a range of matters to be discussed, we look forward to reaching a resolution in the coming weeks.
Employers are working closely with the Union to develop a more equitable competency-based classification structure for General Staff and together we’re developing a standards-based framework for teachers which encourages and rewards our future leaders and promotes teaching as a profession.
We look forward to providing you with an agreement in the near future that you and your colleagues can support.
After more than 11 meetings to discuss our respective claims, Catholic employers and the union will be working together over the next two weeks to continue the process of drafting a revised enterprise agreement.
Through this process, we will together resolve outstanding matters, including areas of concern that have been raised by staff.
The discussions between Catholic employers and the union have been calm, constructive and focussed on achieving an agreement as soon as possible which we believe you will support.
In this context, further union generated industrial action is a waste of your money and our students’ learning time during a crucial time in the school year.
We encourage you to speak with the union and ask it why it persists with industrial action when negotiations are moving steadily towards resolution.
Catholic employers and the union have been negotiating since April 2014 on a new enterprise agreement for all school staff.
Employers have matched pay increases applying in government schools and will pay further increases that would normally have applied while negotiations continue.
While this occurs, all of your current enterprise agreement arrangements remain.
Catholic employers have met with the union on at least ten occasions to discuss issues raised by the union, employers and school staff.
Further meetings are scheduled over the next month to continue to resolve all outstanding issues.
We’ve listened to, and understand, the objections and issues raised by both the union and staff during negotiations and have written to the union to indicate that we will provide a proposal on 1 October to comprehensively settle all of the outstanding matters.
We will only put a settlement proposal that we believe you will vote to support.
Despite all this, the union is persisting with further industrial action ballots – including in those schools where you have already voted no.
The only effect the union’s industrial action will have is to lose staff pay, lose students learning time and cause unnecessary anxiety for parents.
Remember you can take part in the conversations at www.foundationsforexcellence.com.au/yoursay
You’ve heard us talk about a modern approach to agreement making and you might be asking what that means. Put simply, it’s happening right now.
For the first time, we’re taking an open and transparent approach to negotiations, meeting with staff to discuss a range of issues that have not been dealt with before.
We’re talking about how work practice agreements can exist in an environment that also encourages open conversation about what works and what could work better.
We’re asking you about the support that teachers need to move to the National Standards over the coming years. We’re hearing your feedback about the issues that you’re facing daily in managing workloads.
The proposals that employers put were a catalyst for the consultation that’s taking place now in schools, online and with your CEO/CSO. Catholic employers are continuing negotiations with the union to discuss how your input can inform the creation of an agreement that you will support and that will support you.
More negotiation meetings are scheduled in August and September and Catholic employers plan to put to the union a comprehensive proposal on 1 October 2014 to resolve all outstanding matters under negotiation.
The proposal of Catholic employers will be strongly influenced by both the principles underpinning the draft Enterprise Agreement and the feedback you have given in a variety of forums and ways.
Please remember that nothing changes until you vote to change it and that the best agreements come from everyone having a say.
If you’ve not had a chance to have yours, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or register at www.foundationsforexcellence.com.au/yoursay
Over the school break, a series of meetings were held between employers and the union to progress negotiations over the proposed new agreement.
Despite industrial action in some schools, these meetings have been constructive and continue to move towards a resolution.
We know that leadership positions, the place of work practice agreements and rates for general staff are key matters requiring resolution and we continue to work through these and other matters with the union.
As these discussions continue, employers will, in good faith, be flowing through a 2.27% pay increase to school support and maintenance and outdoor staff, backdated to the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2014.
We are confident that the issues of concern outlined by staff and the union can be resolved in our current negotiations. We encourage staff to trust and engage in the process and again assure your enterprise agreement will only change if you vote to support that change.
The proposed Enterprise Agreement puts forward a range of ideas about how our systems can adapt to support our staff in meeting the challenges of 21st century education.
We’ve said that this is just the start of a conversation and you’ve asked us how and where. In response, we’ve created a brand new website - foundationsforexcellence.com.au/yoursay - as one place where this conversation can take place.
We want to work collaboratively with our school communities – teachers, support staff, school leaders and Diocesan staff – in approaching the issues raised through the enterprise bargaining process.
We’re looking for thoughts, ideas and questions from everyone and over the coming months, we’ll be inviting staff to get involved in discussions, questionnaires and polls on a range of topics, beginning with the National Standards for Teachers.
There are great examples of excellence in our schools and this forum has been created so that you can see your ideas alongside those from across the 11 Dioceses of NSW and the ACT.
Register now to join the conversation and remember to follow us @CatholicEB_2014 for updates