Hear our voice: Strike looms in Catholic schools 

Monday 21 March 2022 

Hear our voice: Strike looms in Catholic schools 

Members of the Independent Education Union of Australia NSW/ACT Branch – both teachers and support staff who work in Catholic systemic schools – voted at the weekend to move towards taking protected industrial action. 

About 75 percent of teachers and support staff in some 600 Catholic schools throughout NSW and the ACT are IEU members. The union has almost 20,000 members in this sector. 

At the IEU Council on 19 March, delegates endorsed five key demands: 

  • Pay teachers what they’re worth (in line with other professions) 
  • Give support staff a fair deal (pay parity with their counterparts in government schools) 
  • Let teachers teach – cut paperwork 
  • Allow time for lesson planning (reduce face-to-face teaching load by two hours a week) 
  • End staff shortages. 

“The failure to increase teachers’ pay to match that of other professionals and the ever-increasing workload has led to a crisis in teaching,” the IEU Council resolution states. “It’s time for Catholic employers and the NSW Government to hear our voice.” 

IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Acting Secretary Carol Matthews said: “Our members are frustrated at the slow pace of negotiations given no offer has been received from the employers. The union sent the claim to the employers in November last year well before agreements expired at the end of 2021.” 

The severe shortage of teachers in Catholic schools across NSW and the ACT is a direct result of declining pay coupled with excessive workloads. It has been turbo-charged by the COVID-19 pandemic with staff either off sick or isolating. 

“Teachers are exhausted because of the additional demands placed on them to cover their absent colleagues’ classes,” Matthews said. “Members have reported standing in a corridor between classrooms trying to teach two or three primary classes simultaneously. Something has to be done before even more school staff burn out.” 

Union members agree with the NSW Teachers Federation that uncompetitive salaries and unsustainable workloads are driving teachers (both new and experienced) away from the profession.  

XXXXXXXXXX Quote from IEUA NSW/ACT Branch President Christine Wilkinson XXXXXXXXXX 

The union will be discussing the proposal for protected action with members in schools throughout NSW and the ACT and any further decisions about industrial action will be taken in coming weeks.  


Carol Matthews, Acting Secretary, IEUA NSW/ACT Branch, 0418 272 902 

Media: Monica Crouch, 0411 645 751 monica@ieu.asn.au 

The IEUA NSW/ACT Branch represents over 32,000 teachers, principals and support staff in Catholic and independent schools, early childhood centres and post-secondary colleges. 

Authorised by Carol Matthews, Acting Secretary, IEUA NSW/ACT Branch