Supporting the independent education community

News release: Catholic teachers to strike

Teachers and support staff in Archdiocese of Sydney Catholic systemic schools will stop work on the morning of Wednesday, 1 November to fight for their right to arbitration.

They will also hold Rallies for Rights and take to the streets to highlight their cause. The Sydney action is part of rolling stop works in schools across NSW and the ACT, continuing to 8 November in the first instance.

The strike is a last resort as Catholic employers have failed to respond to the Independent Education Union’s attempt to negotiate for almost a year.

The enterprise agreement covering Catholic schools expired in December 2016, and members have yet to receive the agreed pay rise of 2.5% while they fight for their rights to arbitration.

IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary John Quessy said the right of the union to take disputes to arbitration by an independent umpire was a basic worker’s right being denied by employers.

This right is available to Catholic school staff in other states, and staff in Catholic run hospitals and aged care facilities in NSW and the ACT.

“We’re not sure why they are singling out Catholic schools in NSW and the ACT,” Quessy said.

“Without the right to arbitration, enterprise agreements are compromised,” he said.

“While we are loathe to take any action which disturbs students’ education, it’s crucial that employers cannot stop the Union seeking a hearing at the Fair Work Commission.

“It’s rather ironic that we are having a long-running dispute to fight for the right to resolve disputes quickly and fairly.”

The stop work will begin at the start of duties and finish at 12.30pm. Only members covered by Protected Action Orders will participate in the action.

Quessy, Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey and a number of Sydney primary and secondary teachers as well as support staff will address the rally.

Media invitation

Media are welcome for interviews and photo ops during the rallies and march.

Venue 1

Sydney Masonic Centre

66 Goulburn Street, Sydney


Rally at 9.30am, Wednesday 1 November, followed by march to the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations, Polding Centre, 133 Liverpool St, Sydney.

Venue 2

Gymea Tradies Club

57 Manchester Road North, Gymea


Wednesday, 1 November 9.45am

For details of actions happening across NSW and the ACT see:

More information: or

For more details: Sue Osborne 8202 8900, or Bronwyn Ridgway (a/h) 0433 373 109

IEU represents 30,000 teachers, principals and support staff in Catholic and independent schools, early childhood centres and post secondary colleges in NSW and ACT.

Click here to to download full news release

Regional media releases regarding stop work meetings have been distributed to relevant local news outlets in NSW and ACT.