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Westminster EA Negotiations – Teachers solidarity with non-teachers

Last year saw three schools from the Independent Education sector cut and run from Enterprise Agreement (EA) negotiations in an attempt to push through EAs without the endorsement of the Independent Education Union (SA) (IEU).

Those attempts failed in spectacular fashion.

In listening to the IEU and acting collectively to vote down the proposed EAs, staff at each school improved the outcome achieved when their respective negotiations recommenced.

This year, despite the prospect of a similar outcome, Westminster School put an EA to the vote, that the IEU refused to endorse.

As a consequence, a ‘Vote No’ Campaign was mounted.

The outcome: 137 no votes, 51 yes votes— staff overwhelmingly rejected the proposed EA.

Why such a significant rejection?

Despite salary offers of 12% across 3 years for teachers and school assistants, both groups rejected the offer because the school’s current school assistant classification structure and accompanying salary schedule is inadequate.

Congratulations to teachers for showing such solidarity in support of their non-teaching colleagues. It is another demonstration that the Union’s strength lies in members acting collectively for the benefit of all.   

Despite months of negotiations providing the opportunity to address the issue, the employer simply ignored the gravitas and reiterated their position; there were no issues with the classification structure and school assistants were being remunerated in line with peers in the industry.

Unfortunately, as far as staff were concerned, that did not align with reality.

The belated offer, to ‘review’ the classification structure over an 18-month period (via the Consultative Committee) and provide recommendations to the principal for implementation, to appease staff, simply wasn’t good enough.

When negotiations recommence in May it is hoped the employer is willing to negotiate a classification structure and salary worthy of, and deserved by, its non-teaching staff.

What does this mean for other schools currently engaged in, or about to engage in, EA negotiations?

Chat to someone at your school that isn’t already a member of the IEU and explain how the power of members at Westminster School forced their employer back to the negotiating table. It also resulted in better outcome for staff at St Peters, St John’s Grammar and Walford.

To grow the collective voice at your school, ask potential members to join the IEU –

Frank Bernardi
Industrial Officer