Teacher unions unite at Industrial Relations Commission

Thursday, 13 October, 2022

Teacher unions unite at Industrial Relations Commission

A joint press conference has been held by the Independent Education Union and the NSW Teachers Federation.

As they came together at the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (NSWIRC) building, the NSWIRC began arbitration on the NSW Government’s award application for teachers in government schools.

The IEU was successful in obtaining leave to intervene in this arbitration, effectively giving the IEU a voice in proceedings that will directly impact its members.

“The IEU will return to the NSWIRC, where it hasn’t appeared for more than a decade, to advocate for our members — both teachers and support staff,” said IEU NSW/ACT Branch Secretary Mark Northam.

“We aim to leave no doubt in the minds of Catholic employers and the NSW Government that we will not accept locked-in low pay rises for the next three to four years.”

While Catholic employers come under the federal industrial relations system, according to the IEU they have long replicated the pay increases the NSW Government imposes on government school teachers.

The IEU said that legislative changes in 2011 mean the NSWIRC has been hamstrung for more than a decade, with no choice but to apply the state government’s restrictive wages policy. Since 2011, running a work-value case in the NSWIRC has been futile.

“All teachers in NSW will be impacted by the outcome of this arbitration,” Northam said.

“We’re leaving no stone unturned in our quest to have our members’ voices heard. Once again we urge Catholic employers to stop sitting on their hands and engage in meaningful negotiations with the union.”

Since early February, IEU members have been pursuing five key claims underpinning a new enterprise agreement for Catholic systemic teachers and support staff: pay teachers what they’re worth; give support staff a fair deal; let teachers teach — cut paperwork; allow time to plan; end staff shortages.

“Without fair pay rises the teacher shortage crisis will only escalate,” Northam said.

“Talks began in early February. It’s now October. Let’s sit down and sort this out.”

Image credit: iStock.com/FilippoBacci

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