"Major breakthrough" in two-year Catholic education dispute

"Major breakthrough" in two-year Catholic education dispute

An agreement has been reached which may soon end a bitter two-year industrial dispute in the Catholic education system.

The Independent Education Union (IEU) said negotiations with the Catholic Education Office (CEO) have secured at least 40 weeks of employment and four weeks' annual leave for support staff.

In August 2014, hundreds of school staff from Tasmania’s 37 Catholic schools went on strike over pay and conditions for teacher aides and staff.

IEU spokeswoman, Angela Bryant, said a range of agreements had now been reached, including improved progression arrangements for part-time teachers and a reduced workload for new teachers.

Bryant said the agreement means that many areas of life for teachers and support staff can now return to normal.

"This means people can go off to a bank and get a home loan because they've got a guaranteed income,” Bryant explained, adding that skilled teacher assistants would also be saved from leaving the system “to find better paying work”.

"So these claims may not cost much in practice but they certainly mean a lot to people to know that the employer has taken their concerns seriously.

"It's about looking after our employees and employees looking after the students, it's about better outcomes for students as well," Bryant said.

Bryant said the precise wording of the agreement was currently in the process of being finalised.

The CEO meanwhile has released a statement saying talks with the IEU had resulted in a compromise “on key issues” and it hoped a majority of staff would vote for the agreement in May.