More than 17,000 teachers and support staff in 540 Catholic diocesan schools throughout NSW and the ACT are set to take strike action.
The Independent Education Union of Australia (IEU) Executive has endorsed a full-day stop work on Friday 27 May. Rallies will be held in Sydney, Canberra, Newcastle, Wollongong, Bathurst, Dubbo, Lennox Head, Port Macquarie, Tamworth and Wagga Wagga.
“Taking protected industrial action is no small thing – we don’t take it lightly,” said IEU NSW/ACT Branch Secretary Mark Northam.
“Teachers and support staff across both the government and non-government sectors are dedicated professionals pushed to breaking point. Schools have been running on good will, but it is rapidly evaporating.”
He added, “The sharply rising cost of living, lack of real wages growth, ever-increasing workloads and the pandemic have caused crippling staff shortages in Catholic schools – our members are exhausted and burnt out.
“Catholic school employers are following the NSW Government’s lead in limiting pay rises to 2.04%, a short-sighted approach that has resulted in the current staffing crisis. Teachers are leaving the profession and graduates are not entering it.”
The IEU has been negotiating a new enterprise agreement for its members in Catholic diocesan schools throughout NSW and the ACT since January, calling on employers to:
- Pay teachers what they’re worth (an increase of 10% to 15% over two years)
- Give support staff a fair deal (pay parity with colleagues in public sector schools)
- Let teachers teach – cut paperwork
- Allow time to plan (two more hours release from face-to-face teaching per week)
- End staff shortages.
“Teachers are totally exhausted, they can give no more,” said IEUA NSW/ACT Branch President Chris Wilkinson.
“With the chronic shortage of casuals, teachers and support staff are being asked to take extra lessons and double classes on top of their teaching load, which takes away precious planning and preparation time. We urge employers to listen to teachers and support staff, hear our voices and pay us what we deserve.”