‘Boiling point’: School strike escalates

‘Boiling point’: School strike escalates

Industrial action by Catholic teachers against their employers has grown to involve more than 350 schools across NSW and the ACT.

Thousands of Catholic school teachers and support staff across NSW and the ACT announced that they will stop work on Monday, 4 December for four hours in the next round of industrial action to protest what they call Catholic employers’ “stubborn refusal” to strike a reasonable bargain.

There will also be a series of regional rallies in a variety of locations, including several in Sydney, Canberra, Griffith, Wagga Wagga, Albury, Bathurst, Lismore, Wollongong, Armidale, Newcastle and the Central Coast and many others.

Independent Education Union (IEU) secretary, John Quessy, said more than 100 additional schools have are taking part in this second round of action following a series of a stop works in early November.

Quessy said members were at “boiling point” after employers took the unprecedented action of putting an enterprise agreement to the vote without gaining union endorsement. The employers’ vote is due to begin on Tuesday, 5 December.

“This has never been done before in Australian history. Catholic employers are coming for our members’ rights and they will not tolerate that. We are urging a ‘no’ vote,” Quessy said.

“It is clear they want absolute power over their employees and the members are standing firm against this. Our action is sending a clear message that we reject their enterprise agreement.”

Quessy said the dispute was not about pay but rather about Catholic employers “vetoing” the right of the union to access the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for arbitration. Details of the enterprise agreement also remain unresolved.

Quessy said it was “outrageous” that employers were indicating staff needed to vote ‘yes’ on 5 December in order to get their pay rise.

“Our members will not be held to ransom by employers dangling a meagre pay rise as a carrot.”


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