Significant Vote At Kaplan

V9N1 - March 2019

At Kaplan International English, where we have been in negotiations for the last 6 months, IEU delegates will be recommending that teachers vote up the latest version of our Enterprise Agreement.

This will be our first ever EA and the second among dozens of English language colleges across the state. We have got to this point by building up a unionisation rate of close to 90% (we started with zero!), setting our sights high, maintaining our unity throughout and holding our ground.

Once passed, the Agreement will enshrine significant improvements in our wages and conditions that will put us ahead of most private English language schools across the state, which are all on the industry Award. Key wins include a 12% pay rise over the next two years, casual conversion to ongoing employment after 12 months, a consultative committee, part-time work provisions and a $2,700 bonus as the wage increase for the bargaining period. Importantly, for an industry with virtually zero union density and where most teachers have never been in a union, we have secured important union rights such as paid leave for delegate training and union inductions with a delegate for all new staff.

We hope our victory inspires other schools to organise... This is in an industry that is highly casualised, precarious and underpaid, and, like many others, is claimed to be unorganisable on those grounds. This victory is set against the background of a company claiming to be in financial strife during an apparent dip in the industry overall. Organising from scratch is never easy, but we feel that our example proves that it can be done and it is worth it. This might be the end of negotiations, but IEU members at Kaplan see this as the beginning of a longer journey towards creating the kind of workplace where the union makes us strong, where we are heard and where solidarity can provide the basis for our collective improvement. We hope our victory inspires other schools to organise and we look forward to reaching out and working with more teachers who want to make a change.

The IEU will host an information session during April open to all ELICOS Teachers with our IEU Reps from Kaplan, Impact and Embassy English. If you’re an ELICOS teacher, get in touch with us at the IEU office!