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MEDIA ALERT: Catholic school staff to stop work on Tuesday 15 November

Monday 14 November 2022

MEDIA ALERT: Catholic school staff to stop work on Tuesday 15 November

Teachers and support staff in hundreds of Catholic schools throughout NSW and the ACT will stop work for one hour – from 8.30am to 9.30am – on Tuesday 15 November. Numerous others will stop for one hour at different times. This is legally protected industrial action.

“Negotiations for a new enterprise agreement began in early February,” said Independent Education Union of Australia NSW/ACT Branch Acting Secretary Carol Matthews. “It is now November and employers are no closer to resolving pay issues.”

The IEUA NSW/ACT Branch represents over 19,000 teachers and support staff in the Catholic diocesan sector, and more than 32,000 members in the non-government sector overall.

Last Friday, the NSW Industrial Relations Commission handed down a decision to grant teachers in NSW government schools pay rises of just 2.29% in 2022 and 2.53% in 2023. While Catholic employers are not legally bound by this ruling, they’ve been dragging the chain waiting for it, having long imposed the NSW Government’s wages policy on Catholic teachers.

“The IEU condemns these derisory increases – they are not enough for IEU members nor for members of the NSW Teachers Federation,” Matthews said.

“Teachers’ salaries have been falling relative to other professions for more than a decade now and this year’s intensifying cost-of-living pressures only make matters worse. Salaries for support staff in Catholic schools are below those in government schools, yet Catholic employers are still dragging the chain on pay parity.”

Teachers and support staff have been pushed to breaking point not only by uncompetitive salaries but also by unmanageable workloads and the lingering pandemic.

The union is calling for practical action to reduce the unnecessary administrative burden on teachers to allow proper time for lesson planning. “Employers have so far refused to discuss simple, sector-wide measures we know could mitigate workload pressure,” Matthews said.

“Teachers care deeply about their students and understand the inconvenience Tuesday’s brief stopwork will cause. They are left with no option but to take action in an attempt to bring their employers to the negotiating table.
“Staff shortages are already severe, and with COVID rearing its ugly head again, a response from employers is more urgent than ever.”

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