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Agreement Approved

CCER is pleased to announce that the Fair Work Commission has approved the NSW and ACT Catholic Systemic Schools Enterprise Agreement 2015.

The Agreement will come into effect on 15 September 2015 and can be found below.

It brings together eight industrial instruments into one and will introduce a number of changes including a new structure for Teachers that aligns to national teaching standards and a new classification structure for General Staff. We will be working with Schools over the coming weeks to implement these changes.

The end of enterprise bargaining negotiations is the beginning of an engagement process with you that will be continuous, evolving and focused on teaching and learning.

Please don’t hesitate to contact your HR department if you wish to discuss the new Agreement.

NSW and ACT Catholic Systemic Schools Enterprise Agreement 2015

Catholic Schools Agreement settled but beginning of the road to engagement

Catholic Systemic School Employers in NSW and the ACT have reached settlement with the union on a new Enterprise Agreement for over 23, 000 Catholic school staff.

In a joint statement from the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations and the Independent Education Union, the announcement signals the end of a lengthy negotiation over 12 months that has seen industrial action take place.

The new proposal brings together eight different industrial instruments into one and will introduce a number of changes including a new structure for Teachers that aligns to national teaching standards and a new classification structure for General Staff. 

The proposed agreement was introduced by employers in 2014 to address a number of issues impacting education today, such as changing student needs, new approaches to teaching and learning and the impact of technology.

Tony Farley, Executive Director of the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations said:  “While the terms of the new agreement are important, the most significant lesson for Catholic employers is not about salary or conditions but the much bigger issue of staff engagement.”

“Rather than being a starting point for discussing change, an industrial negotiation needs to be the end-point of an ongoing conversation that occurs at the workplace.”

He continued: ”For Catholic Schools in NSW and the ACT, the end of enterprise bargaining negotiations is the beginning of an engagement process that will be continuous, evolving and focussed on teaching and learning.”

The Agreement will be put to staff for a vote in Term 3 and must be approved by the Fair Work Commission before coming into effect.

KEY CHANGES IN THE PROPOSED AGREEMENT

The proposed agreement covers Teachers and General Employees (support and operational staff) who work in primary and secondary Catholic Systemic schools in NSW and the ACT. It consolidates 8 separate industrial instruments into a single agreement that (as far as possible) standardises industrial practices and conditions of employment across 11 separate Catholic Systemic School Employers.

Pay increases
As agreed in the NSW public sector, a 2.27% pay increase has been provided to Teachers and backdated to first full pay period on or after1 January 2015. A 2.5% increase will be provided from first full pay period on or after 1 January 2016.

For Teachers working in the ACT, the following pay increases will be provided to Teachers:

-       1.5% from first full pay period on or after 1 October 2014
-       1.5% from first full pay period on or after 1 April 2015
-       1.5% from first full pay period on or after 1 October 2015
-       1.5% from first full pay period on or after 1 April 2016
-       1.5% from first full pay period on or after 1 October 2016

From 2016 General Employees will receive wage increases at the same time as teachers – from 1 January each year. Over the first year of this agreement, general employees will receive two increases within six months – the 2015 wage increase of 2.27% at the ordinary time (first full pay period on or after 1 July) as well as the increase of 2.5% in January 2016.

Catholic Ethos
For the first time, the agreement contains a statement which outlines the expectations that all staff support the teachings and values of the Catholic Church in schools. This statement reflects what currently exists in contracts, policies and letters of appointment.

A new classification structure for Teachers
A new standards-based classification structure for teachers will commence on 1 January 2016, providing recognition and reward for Teachers as they progress through their career and are accredited against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST).  Transitional arrangements will ensure that no teacher will be worse off under the new structure.

The agreement also promotes quality teaching and improved learning outcomes by outlining support for graduate teachers in achieving their accreditation through the provision of orientation, induction, mentoring and classroom release.

Fair pay and conditions for general employees
The Agreement brings together all support, operational, maintenance and outdoor staff under one General Employee classification structure that better reflects the duties and skills required of employees. In combining a range of industrial instruments into one, where possible, conditions for employees have been standardised to ensure equitable provisions.

Personal/carer’s leave
New personal/carer’s leave (P/C) provisions for teachers (sick leave) have been introduced which are comparable to those provided in the public sector. The proposal provides for 15 days a year which would accrue progressively on an uncapped basis – creating a benefit for long serving teachers who may require more leave later in their careers. Additionally, new teachers will receive a one-off upfront allocation of 15 days P/C leave.

As part of the overall package, the following changes to leave are also included:
- New provisions relating to access of leave for unexpected emergencies/domestic violence.
- An additional day of special leave for scheduled family commitments.
- An week of paid leave for the non-primary caregiver upon the birth or adoption of a child.
- Changes to maternity leave provisions to allow for 14 weeks of paid leave to be accessed by the primary caregiver – mother or father.
- Access to a range of additional leave options for General Employees including: community service leave, exam study leave, military reserve leave, unpaid leave to work in an overseas volunteer program.

Long Service Leave
Employees will now be able to cash out a portion of their long service leave after 10 years of service.

Industrial action called off as negotiations move towards a conclusion

The IEU has notified its members that industrial action planned for next Tuesday is suspended. This is a welcome step from the IEU and will be appreciated by all school communities.

Catholic employers have provided the IEU with a comprehensive terms of settlement which employers believe will be supported by staff.

The IEU has identified three outstanding matters. The first is in regard to reportable conduct which should be resolved following further clarification. The second issue about personal/carer’s leave appears to concern differences of view about the details which are also likely to be resolved with the goodwill of the parties. We are confident that in regard to the third issue of Catholic ethos, the clause we have now provided can be supported by both staff and the IEU.

CCER will continue to work on behalf of our Diocese to finalise negotiations which will allow you to vote on a new agreement and receive your pay increases and back payments as soon as possible.

Union and employers agree – progress made in negotiations

A negotiation meeting was held on 15 April to continue discussions on the employers’ terms of settlement.

Both the union and employers recognised that progress was made on a range of outstanding matters. An exchange of letters will take place to confirm the key points from the discussions, and a second meeting has been scheduled for 22 April.

Employers again formally requested that the union withdraw support for industrial action on the basis that it will have no effect on what now appears to be a more constructive phase of negotiations, other than lose staff money, disrupt student learning and cause inconvenience to families and school communities.

Employers are keen to finalise negotiations to progress to a vote in Term 2. A further update will be provided as w continue these final discussions.

Read the employers’ response to union’s outstanding concerns

Employers are disappointed that the IEU have again chosen to call for a day of industrial action on 28 April, rather than finalising negotiations with employers.

Catholic employers presented the union with their terms of settlement on 31 March, which outlined a proposed approach to the settlement of all outstanding issues.

In their most recent letter to staff, the union highlighted a range of issues with the employers’ proposed terms. Click through for a more comprehensive outline of the employers’ responses to the key IEU’s concerns.  In particular you will see that:

  • the sick leave entitlement proposals match state school teacher accruals of 15 days per year and introduce improvements such as uncapped accruals;
  • the Catholic ethos provisions are an open statement of current expectations in our schools and clearly reiterate our commitment to being faith based schools;
  • the reportable conduct provisions are consistent with community standards and arrangements applying in state government schools; and
  • the meal break provisions put teachers in control of their meal breaks by ensuring changes are only by mutual agreement.

Employers will continue to work with the IEU to attempt to achieve mutual agreement on a new enterprise agreement, and are particularly concerned that they had initiated industrial action prior to receiving the employers’ proposed terms.

This strike first and negotiate later approach creates unnecessary disruption to schools and encourages staff to lose money before any attempt to negotiate on their behalf is made.

Employers encourage staff to discuss these issues in schools and will shortly provide an update on the next steps in putting a comprehensive enterprise agreement to all staff to vote on in Term 2.

The proposed terms of settlement for a new Catholic Schools enterprise agreement

Catholic Employers have presented the union with their proposed terms of settlement for a new Enterprise Agreement for Catholic school staff, which we believe represents a fair and reasonable settlement of all outstanding matters.

These terms include;

  • A different package for personal/carer’s leave which allows for uncapped accrual and greater flexibility to access your leave
  • New parental leave benefits
  • An earlier wage increase in 2016 for general employees
  • No change to your meal breaks without your express agreement
  • A move to a structure that supports you to transition to the standards
  • No change to promotions positions

When finalised, the agreement will ensure consistent core conditions apply for all of our staff and that your workplace arrangements and entitlements reflect the realities of what it means to work in a school today.

Employers have asked the union to respond by 10 April and welcome any opportunity to discuss the proposed terms with them prior to this date.

Once the terms are agreed, employers and the union will work together to draft the final agreement which you will have the opportunity to review in full prior to a vote.

In the meantime we have outlined the proposed key terms of settlement and what they mean for you – click through here.

 

Employers provide terms of settlement to seek swift resolution of negotiations

You may have seen a copy of a the latest News Extra from the Independent Education Union (IEU) which again called for industrial action in our schools. This unfortunate approach highlights the IEU’s insistence on negotiating through conflict and threats, which has slowed the process considerably.

Catholic employers advised the IEU that a formal terms-of-settlement would be provided on 31 March, which we believe will be a fair and reasonable resolution of all the outstanding matters. The settlement will include:

- a standards based classification structure for teachers which is an important step in supporting and developing the profession;
- a new competency based classification structure for general employees which reflects work in today’s schools;
- a Catholic ethos provision that expresses clearly the current expectations that all staff will support the mission, teachings and ethos of the Catholic Church.

The employers’ proposed terms-of-settlement will be provided to you and the IEU on 31 March in the expectation that you will be able to vote on a new agreement in Term 2. We will ensure you are fully informed to make an informed decision before you cast your vote.

We ask that you encourage the IEU to work cooperatively and act in good faith with Catholic employer representatives to resolve any outstanding issues that may exist after 31 March and help conclude this process as soon as possible.

Timeline – concluding negotiations on your new agreement

Employers and the union met for a full day meeting on Monday 23 February to continue enterprise agreement negotiations.

While a range of matters were discussed a further negotiating meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 3 March.

Catholic employers believe that enterprise agreement negotiations need to be concluded as soon as possible and have established the following timeframe to achieve this outcome:

  • 23 February – The union notified employers that all their outstanding items for discussion have now been provided.
  • 3 March – A further negotiation meeting is scheduled with the union to discuss the outstanding matters.
  • 3 – 20 March – Additional meetings will be held with the union as agreed to finalise outstanding issues.
  • 31 March – Employers to provide the union and staff with a comprehensive proposed final terms of settlement at the end of Term 1.
  • When the Agreement is voted on and approved by the Fair Work Commission, pay increases and back payments will be flowed through to staff.

Throughout the negotiations, Catholic employers have discussed at length with the union about how to create an agreement that staff, employers and the union supports.

We will provide you with a clear and factual proposal on 31 March which will outline the proposed key changes to the new agreement which you can discuss with your Catholic Education/Schools Office.

In the interim, Catholic employers will continue to bargain in good faith with the union and work to achieving a resolution that we can all support.

Progress of negotiations in 2015

At the beginning of 2014, we began a process to explore how we might approach a new Enterprise Agreement for Catholic School Staff in NSW and the ACT. Throughout the year, we met with teachers, school support staff and the Union to discuss a range of matters relating to the EA, including how Catholic Education might transition to the National Standards and new ways of working in the rapidly changing world of education.

The ongoing negotiations, while not yet complete, have brought us to agreement on a significant number of issues.

Catholic employers are considering the IEU’s feedback from our most recent discussions and are confident that a majority of outstanding matters can be resolved in the near future.

We are keen to conclude the negotiations and pass on further increases and relevant back payments in line with those applying in NSW Government schools.

The next meeting between Catholic Education and the Union will take place on 23 January 2015 – more information on the progress of these discussions will be provided shortly.