The Independent Education Union (IEU) and Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (CCER) have been locked in negotiations for more than a year over teachers’ pay, conditions, personal/carers leave and school support staff.
A highly controversial Catholic ethos clause – requiring Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) employees to hide their sexual persuasion – was one of the biggest issues of contention between the two groups.
In March, a Catholic Education Commission NSW (CECNSW) spokesman defended the CCER’s position, telling The Educator that the Catholic Church respects and defends the dignity and rights of all people, regardless of sexual orientation.
The strike was due to take place on 28 April, but the IEU announced the suspension of the strike on Friday, saying that the union had now achieved commitment to a number of important improvements in the enterprise agreement
The IEU said that further discussions now need to be held on the finer details of some matters.
The negotiations on the enterprise agreement have taken more than a year and IEU General Secretary, John Quessy, paid tribute to the resolve of IEU members, who he said had “stuck to their guns to defend the quality education they provide in Catholic schools throughout this prolonged dispute”.
“Members in the flood ravaged regions of the Hunter, Central Coast, Illawarra and parts of Sydney, have managed to meet and support their union’s negotiations, while also assisting their school and local communities,” Quessy said.
“The union appreciates members’ continued commitment to this campaign. Our teachers and support staff remain strong, united and committed to their union and their profession.
“Catholic school students are also the beneficiaries of a positive outcome from these negotiations, which have achieved real gains for our members.”