Salaries and working conditions on July agenda

By Gary Zadkovich
Deputy President

Federations is in talks with other public sector unions on an approach to salary negotiations

More than 500 delegates to Annual Conference on July 3-5 will decide Federation’s claim for the next schools salaries and conditions award, to come into effect from the expiry of the current award at the end of this year.

The context for achieving a significant lift in teacher salaries remains difficult. The NSW government’s Public Sector Wages Policy limits salary increases for public sector employees to 2.5 per cent a year. Increases above that percentage must be funded by trading off working conditions as “employee-related savings”.

The legislation that denies the NSW Industrial Relations Commission the capacity to make an independent ruling on the merits of a public sector salaries case also remains in place.

Federation is currently seeking discussions with Unions NSW and other public sector unions to canvas options and strategies for the forthcoming rounds of salaries negotiations. A key focus will be developing a broad, multi-union campaign that optimises community understanding of and support for greater government investment in the provision of high quality government services. This necessarily includes decent salaries and working conditions that ensure the recruitment and retention of a well-qualified, high quality public sector workforce.

A survey conducted in May invited Federation members to identify priorities for the next claim. While the results are still being collated at the time of writing, this information will be utilised by Federation Executive to finalise the recommendation for debate at Annual Conference.

Negotiations will commence in the second half of the year, with the aim of achieving a new award to commence from the start of 2017.

State Executive and Council will consider developments and determine action as necessary in the months ahead.