More than 18,000 Catholic school staff in NSW and the ACT have walked off the job today, marking the first full-day stoppage by the sector in 18 years.
The Independent Education Union (IEU) says its staff have been struggling under the weight of massive workloads and unsatisfactory pay.
The union has pressed the government for a 10%-15% pay rise over the next two years, as well as reduced workloads and more time for staff to plan lessons.
Earlier this month, tens of thousands of NSW public school teachers went on strike to protest intensifying workloads and low pay.
The results of a recent survey of the profession show that 73% of NSW teachers consider their workload to be “unmanageable”, while 70% revealed they are now reconsidering their position for this reason.
The survey also revealed that 89% consider staffing shortages to be “very significant”, while 82% say shortages are leading to higher teacher workloads at their school. The Federation says the state faces a potential shortage of “at least 15,000 teachers at the end of the decade”.
“Catholic schools, and in fact schools everywhere, are on the edge of a crisis,” IEUA Acting Federal Secretary Christine Cooper told The Educator.
“Because of the workload intensification and inadequate salaries, teachers are choosing to leave the profession, but more so, we’ve got students who are choosing not to study teaching at university and take up the profession.”
Cooper said this has led to a teacher shortage in schools across both the country.
“If we want quality education in Catholic schools and in schools everywhere, then Catholic employers and governments have to step up and fix this problem, and they can easily fix it by addressing workload intensification, proper classification and adequate pay increases.”