Issuu on Google+

Vol. 10 No. 2

In this edition

• •

ELICOS sector receives minimum wage increase

Collective bargaining updates

Meet the new ELICOS team

Why your superannuation is important

Superannuation scrutinised at Shafston

Member Profile: Chad Borchard, ILSC

Q

August 2011

i I B Z

The newsletter for ELICOS, International College and Business College sector

Minimum Wage Increase For ELICOS Fair Work Australia has implemented minimum wage increases for employees in the ELICOS sector; however, this amount still falls short of wage rates being achieved under Collective Agreements. The increase resulted in a wage rise of 3.4 per cent for all employees in ELICOS colleges under the Educational Services (Post Secondary Education) Award. While this is the largest pay increase applied to the sector in a number of years, colleges negotiating collective agreements are experiencing better outcomes. Employers also have the option of implementing this minimum wage increase at a transitional rate, meaning that it could be sometime before employees under award conditions receive the full entitlement. Good employers are implementing the full minimum wage increase despite only being legally obligated to provide a transitional rate. However, this minimum wage rate continues to undervalue the important work performed by teachers in the ELICOS sector. Employees working collectively within our union are attaining much better conditions. Efforts made by teachers who join together with their union to negotiate workplace improvements results in drastic differences between the ELICOS award rate and negotiated wages in the ELICOS sector. A teacher working within an ELICOS College at the top of the scale in 2011 earned up to $17,535 p.a. more because of their negotiated agreement, as opposed to a teacher working in an identical job that only pays the award rate. Improvements in working conditions achieved by employees working together are not limited to wages. Leave benefits, superannuation, career paths, training opportunities and workplace health and safety, are also improvements negotiated by members within our union acting collectively. The current award lacks a casual conversion clause that was included in the previous award. The clause allowed casual staff who have been employed in ELICOS colleges for an allotted amount of time to apply for permanency.

ELICOS Minimum Wage Rates (as of 1 July 2011) Full Time Wages

Casual Daily Rate

Step

New Rate

Step

New Rate

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

$40,250.29 $40,786.99 $41,593.40

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

$192.77 $195.34 $199.20

$42,407.89 $44,123.19 $45,266.69 $46,307.77 $47,451.33 $48,600.25 $50,083.58 $51,464.49 $52,683.52

$203.10 $211.32 $216.79 $221.78 $227.26 $232.76 $239.86 $246.48 $252.32

how this change impacts upon you, please email Nick Holliday on nholliday@qieu.asn.au. The only way that employees can improve on the award wages and conditions is to start a Collective Agreement along with their colleagues. Collective Agreements are negotiated to improve wages and conditions for all staff at your college covering such issues as hours of duty or professional development; none of these are covered in the award. By working as a workforce collective alongside your union, improvements to wages and conditions can be achieved for staff at your workplace.

Without this clause there is no structural framework for an application of permanency to be given due consideration. This means that there is no existing obligation for employers to consider requests for permanency regardless of how long an employee has worked at a college. However, members engaging in collective bargaining are seeking to have this clause included in a new agreement. As the status of the award is different between colleges, please contact your union to find out how the changes to your wages will be implemented. If you would like to know more about

If you would like to discuss starting a Collective Agreement or to find out when your college needs to implement any payment differences please contact your organiser on (07) 3839 7020 or email elicos@qieu.asn.au. Page 1


BiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QB

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING UPDATES Members working together to achieve results

Embassy

IES

Negotiations are continuing at Embassy after staff recently voted in an overwhelming majority against a proposed 2% wage increase. Agreeing to the increase would have halted any negotiations regarding other workplace conditions. Staff are seeking further discussions with the employer to bring about a new Collective Agreement that will provide a fairer outcome for all employees.

Negotiations have been finalised at IES following the collective action of members of our union. A new Collective Agreement has been registered. Under this new agreement, wages have been increased, an enhanced paid parental leave initiative has been outlined, and a commitment has been made to developing a new Senior Teacher classification level. Members are now monitoring the implementation of the agreement through the consultative committee.

Browns

NAVITAS

Management at Browns sought to halt negotiations with staff following an initial meeting, on the basis that negotiations are costly and time consuming. However members passed a motion rejecting this stance and are seeking a further meeting. Our members have once again demonstrated the importance of a collective voice in developing workplace conditions and the necessity of implementing a Collective Agreement to maintain high standards.

A log of claims has been prepared for endorsement by employees following the recent expiration of NAVITAS’ Collective Agreement. Once the Employee Log of Claims is endorsed, a meeting with management will be sought to begin discussions for a replacement Collective Agreement. Our members are seeking enhanced workplace conditions in order to attract and retain the current level of high-quality and dedicated staff.

INTRODUCING THE NEW ELICOS TEAM Pauline Elphinstone Pauline joins the ELICOS team after six years of working as a teacher within the sector. “A lot of ELICOS teachers are now getting actively involved in collective bargaining. This is something I too am passionate about. ELICOS teaching is so enjoyable and rewarding in that you get to meet and help people from all over the world and create lasting friendships. Teachers in the sector are generally highly qualified, personable professionals who do a fantastic job. I’d like to help them be able to have a say and an input in their workplace.”

Neren Christie Before joining the ELICOS team Neren worked in our union call centre talking regularly with members. “I hope to improve conditions for ELICOS staff through collective bargaining. I feel it’s really important that the staff have a strong voice and can work together as a collective. I hope to empower our members in the ELICOS sector and collaborate with them to improve conditions in their workplace.”

Aaron Watson Aaron joins the ELICOS team after many years of working as a teacher within the sector in Australia and abroad. “I hope to be a line of contact and representation for members within the sector and to help improve their workplace conditions through collective bargaining. I’m proud to be part of a team that brings ELICOS staff together and builds a stronger union.”

Page 2


QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ Q

Importance of Collective Bargaining Rights Members working within the ELICOS sector are now actively engaged in negotiations to improve wages and conditions in many centres. The process of bringing about a Collective Agreement is generally a lengthy, and sometimes challenging, process. When dealing with an award that does not properly recognise the duties performed by staff in the ELICOS sector, collective bargaining becomes the only way to achieve fairer conditions. Collective Agreements have delivered for many ELICOS employees above-award wages and conditions. The Fair Work Act makes it possible for staff to engage in the collective bargaining process when more than 50 per cent of employees are in favour of negotiating; this is referred to as majority support determination.

when issues arise regarding the conditions in their workplace. Our union staff is available to offer advice and support when members are considering voicing concerns about their workplace conditions. Finally, it is necessary for employees wishing to improve their conditions to learn how to engage in collective bargaining. Building the support of a collective voice is the only way to ensure that your employer responds to your concerns. Our union organisers are ready to help our members implement a plan of collective action. This action can be undertaken in a number of forms and it is important to ensure that the methods used are tailored to the situation within your workplace.

Many colleges in the ELICOS sector have used collective action as a means of attaining enhanced working conditions. Building a collective voice ensures that your concerns are heard and that appropriate changes to your workplace conditions can be negotiated with your employer. Our union has helped many members achieve these positive results within their workplaces, demonstrating the unarguable advantages of collective bargaining. It is important to remember that collective bargaining does not guarantee employers will agree to all claims. It does, however, initiate negotiations and puts employees in a position to attain above-award conditions. In a negotiation situation there are three vital components to achieving positive outcomes. Firstly it is essential to have a high level of union membership within your workplace. The percentage of staff members within your college who are union members and the strength of the collective voice will ultimately determine the amount of attention your employer will give to your concerns. Secondly it is important for employees to know what to do

Why Your Superannuation Is Important Superannuation is an essential part of an employee’s remuneration and the basis of a comfortable retirement. Inadequate levels of superannuation contributions can mean an impoverished retirement and the absence of hundreds of thousands of dollars in available retirement income. Healthy superannuation contributions are particularly vital for women who often spend less time in the workforce due to factors such as raising children, returning to work on a part time basis, and other caring responsibilities. Superannuation is also important when it comes to maintaining your expected standard of living into retirement. The age pension currently provides only about $26,300 per couple or $17,400 for singles; so an alternative source of income becomes essential for most people. Financial advisors have indicated that approximately 63 per cent of your gross annual earnings before retirement are necessary to maintain your standard of living into retirement. Some ideas to boost your retirement income include: reducing your debt; budgeting; and making smarter investments in superannuation through maximising your personal contribution payments and salary

To initiate collective bargaining within your college, start by discussing your issues of concern with your colleagues. It is also important to be aware of how conditions within your workplace measure up to those experienced by employees working in other ELICOS colleges. Your ELICOS organiser is available to assist you during this process to ensure that the best possible results are attained. To discuss starting collective bargaining within your workplace, please contact your organiser on (07) 3839 7020 or email elicos@qieu.asn.au. sacrificing employee contributions and exploring the benefits of spouse contribution and/or government co-contributions that are available. It is also important to remember that attempts by employers to avoid negotiating improved superannuation contributions can be overcome by a commitment to a collective action.

Superannuation under scrutiny at Shafston Staff at Shafston International College have questioned their superannuation contributions following an investigation that suggested payments are not being made on time and that amounts paid may be incorrect. Our union has conducted a time and wages inspection which is currently under audit to ensure that our members are receiving the correct entitlements. This dispute demonstrates yet again that employees in the ELICOS sector need to be vigilant about their conditions. Without the collective action of members within our union, this superannuation issue at Shafston would not have undergone the necessary scrutiny. Our union is committed to ensuring that workplace conditions are elevated to a standard commensurate with the duties performed by our members.

Page 3


iZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QBiZ QB

Member Profile

in the form of meetings, the lines of communication bring about a sense of accomplishment and optimism. What advice would you give to beginning teachers in the ELICOS sector? Put yourself in the place of your student. If you’ve ever lived in a foreign country, you already know about the difficulties one faces on a daily basis. Use your experience to build a connection with the students and help them see the solution to their problems and make their own breakthroughs. What would you say to a colleague who is not a member of our union? As an individual you often feel vulnerable or reluctant to voice your opinion when you think something isn’t right. As a group you have a better chance of having your concerns addressed in a positive way. Often times an outcome can depend on the combined effort of many individuals working together.

Chad Borchard ILSC Brisbane How long have you worked in the ELICOS Sector and at ILSC? Since 2003. I’ve also been an IELTS examiner at UQ for about four years. When did you join our union and what made you want to become a member? I joined this year in April because I was having some issues in the workplace and needed some insight from trained professionals who have to deal with similar situations regularly. What have you seen achieved in your workplace by members collectively coming together? I’ve become the person that people generally come to for answers. Although I don’t always know how to help, I’ve found our union officers Neren and Nick more than eager to assist with scheduling last minute meetings and providing sound advice. What do you enjoy most about being an ELICOS teacher? Of course it always feels good to know that you’re helping a student achieve their goals and reach their potential. Sometimes the smallest bit of encouragement can be the break-through someone needs to move forward. What are some of the challenges you face working in the ELICOS sector? In the current market with the combined effects of the strong Aussie dollar, the global financial crisis and immigration policies, the landscape has changed substantially from just two years ago. It’s important to provide the highest quality of English language instruction as possible. Why is the professional recognition of ELICOS teachers so important? As the third largest export in Australia, international education gets overlooked for its importance not only to peripheral economic areas but also to the overall reputation this country enjoys as a destination for travel and immigration. How has IEUA-QNT helped you and your colleagues in your workplace? My colleagues have seen that by simply organising themselves

Page 4

Need Your Questions Answered? Do you have queries or concerns? Do you need answers to questions about your workplace conditions? Please contact IEUA-QNT and speak to a Member Services Officer or your organiser on

FREE CALL: 1800 177 938

Join Your Union Today To join IEUA-QNT, download a membership form from our website www.qieu.asn.au/join or call our membership department on FREECALL 1800 177 938 ISSN 1446-8964 QBiZ was prepared by Nick Holliday and Elise Cuthbertson Editor: Mr Terry Burke, Secretary IEUA-QNT PO BOX 418, FORTITUDE VALLEY QLD 4006 PH: (07) 3839 7020 FX: (07) 3839 7021 Email: enquiries@qieu.asn.au Website: www.qieu.asn.au ABN : 74 662 601 045


/q_biz_august_2011_final