‘Unprecedented’: 87% of teachers reject enterprise agreement

‘Unprecedented’: 87% of teachers reject enterprise agreement
Teachers and support staff in NSW and ACT Catholic schools have rejected an enterprise agreement (EA), which was not endorsed by the Union in a ballot declared on Tuesday.

The Independent Education Union (IEU) campaigned strongly against the proposal and urged a ‘No’ vote, which was delivered with 87.87% of participants voting ‘No’.

The outcome follows a series of rolling stoppages coordinated by IEU in November and December.
There were 15,968 teachers and support staff in 11 Catholic dioceses who voted, and a resounding 14,031 voted down the Catholic employers’ non-union EA.

At issue was the refusal to guarantee access to arbitration by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in regard to any future disputes about the EA and other agreed conditions.

The IEU argued that the proposal put the rights and working conditions of staff at risk in Catholic systemic schools.

“This is a very solid result and we hope that Catholic employers are listening to the voice of their employees,” said IEU Secretary, John Quessy.

“While I’m very pleased with the ‘No’ vote this is not the end of the matter and we still need to thrash out an EA which is acceptable to our members.”

The IEU is now seeking to reopen a dialogue with Catholic employers.

“If employers have the best interests of their staff at heart, they’ll return to the bargaining table to negotiate a reasonable agreement,” Quessy said.

“Members have shown that they are willing to take strike action, and employers should have no doubts about whether they will continue to, if their right to arbitration in particular is not upheld.”

Although the dispute is not over pay, a 2.5% pay rise was settled nearly a year ago, but has yet to be paid.