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Working towards a resolution

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.

Why negotiations are preferable to industrial action

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.

Where are negotiations up to?

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

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PROGRESS ON AGREEMENT NEGOTIATIONS AND NEXT STEPS

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 comms@ccer.catholic.org.au or register at www.foundationsforexcellence.com.au/yoursay

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PAY INCREASES FOR ALL SCHOOL SUPPORT STAFF, MAINTENANCE AND OUTDOOR STAFF

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.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE VOTE

Employees will have the opportunity to vote on the Proposed Agreement.

The Voting Period: Opens 7am Monday 27 July, 2015 and Closes 5pm Sunday 2 August, 2015.

For further information on the vote, click here.

WELCOME TO THE ONLINE COMMUNITY

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

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INFORMATION ABOUT INDUSTRIAL ACTION

The IEU is encouraging staff to take industrial action in our schools.

This is despite knowing that at the beginning of this year we gave a 2.27% pay increase to teachers and school leaders without requiring any changes to your agreement.

From the very beginning we have told the IEU that the draft enterprise agreement is the beginning of an open process of consultation and discussion where everyone gets to share their ideas.

Changes to your current enterprise agreement arrangements will only occur if you vote to change them.

This means all positions including Coordinators, Assistant Principals and Religious Education Coordinators will continue to be filled and occupied under your current enterprise agreement arrangements.

We will only ask you to vote for a new enterprise agreement when we think we have a document that you will support. We know that there are aspects of the employers’ proposal that have raised concerns – that is precisely what we need to talk to you about.

Clearly this will take time, which is why if the process is constructive, we have no intention of delaying further pay increases that would ordinarily have applied while we work through the issues.

The IEU knows that under the Fair Work Act, we will be legally obliged to dock your pay for the duration of any sort of industrial action.

The IEU also knows that you control the outcome because only you can vote to change your current arrangements.

Industrial action will not stop the discussion we need to have with you about change and innovation in our schools.

You will get many opportunities over the next few months to share your ideas about a new agreement that works for you and our students.

Keep up to date with our Frequently Asked Questions and follow us @CatholicEB_2014

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LEADERSHIP POSITIONS IN YOUR SCHOOL

Concern has been expressed in regard to the future of leadership positions in our schools.The standards based classification structure in the draft enterprise agreement includes expectations around leadership roles at the Highly Accomplished and Lead levels.

It does not deal explicitly with how we will transition from our old structures to these proposed new arrangements.

This is precisely what we need to talk to you about – ways of collaborating and teaching that are rewarding, innovative and based on nationally agreed professional standards.

For the foreseeable future current Coordinator positions, Religious Education Coordinator positions and Assistant Principal positions will remain exactly as they are.

These positions will only change when you vote to change them.

We want you to be part of creating new arrangements that are fair and that recognise the professional realities of education today.

We also understand that this process will take time, which is why at the beginning of this year we made the 2.27% pay increase to teachers and school leaders without requiring any changes.

If the process is constructive and takes more time, we have no intention of delaying pay increases that would ordinarily have applied while we continue to work through the issues.

You will get many opportunities to be part of this process of creating a new agreement and you are encouraged to participate wherever you can.

More on consultation – what happens next?

Only you can vote for your Enterprise Agreement

You and your colleagues are the only people who can change the Enterprise Agreement that applies to you. Your employer and the Union can make recommendations about what should remain or change but they cannot make the decision for you. Catholic employers have put a draft Agreement out to start a conversation. It’s the beginning of a consultation process and not the final word. We want to talk about how we can respond to the changing needs of schools, students and the teachers and staff who are the lifeblood of our system.

We understand the Union has made some very strong statements that suggest that a major conflict exists. If you want to see factual responses to issues raised by the Union, make sure you keep up to date on our FAQ’s page. The draft Agreement is only the start of a professional conversation about what the future of our schools can and will look like. We want to focus on innovative ideas, students and teachers. Nothing changes unless we can all come up with something that works for all of us and that you will vote for. To this end, we will continue the process of professional consultation with you in a variety of forums and encourage you to participate with an open mind and heart. In the end, your vote on the Enterprise Agreement means that you are in control.

More on consultation – what happens next?

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Let’s continue the conversation

As you are aware, CCER has tabled for the consideration of staff and the IEU a draft enterprise agreement which is intended to prompt discussion about issues that are central to the work of our teachers and other staff.

The draft agreement is a starting point to stimulate this discussion – it is by no means the final word from Catholic employers.Any changes to current agreements will only occur when staff vote to support those changes.Be part of the conversationWe are committed to creating an environment where all staff can share their ideas and contribute to making a new agreement that works for everyone.

You will see this in the coming weeks as we seek your views on a range of issues including classification structures, leadership positions, leave and remuneration and work design.We encourage you to participate at your school, with the union and online through our Foundations for Excellence website. It is expected that formal bargaining will soon commence when the Minister and Fair Work Commission give the necessary approvals.In the meantime, employers and the IEU have scheduled meetings in May and June to agree on a process for these negotiations.

Click through for more information on the Enterprise Bargaining process or to keep updated on the most recent correspondence with the IEU.