Catholic teachers on their marks to strike on Wednesday

NOT HAPPY: James Sheahan Catholic High School teachers and union members Trent Critchley, Carol Blackwood, John Brown, Natasha Deasey, Amanda Nieuwendyk, Patricia Harvey, Laura Tilston, Winston West, Denise Taylor, Jan Hayes and Paul McKie will stop work on Wednesday to protest against a proposed enterprise agreement. Photo NICOLE KUTER 0718nkteachers

NOT HAPPY: James Sheahan Catholic High School teachers and union members Trent Critchley, Carol Blackwood, John Brown, Natasha Deasey, Amanda Nieuwendyk, Patricia Harvey, Laura Tilston, Winston West, Denise Taylor, Jan Hayes and Paul McKie will stop work on Wednesday to protest against a proposed enterprise agreement. Photo NICOLE KUTER 0718nkteachers

TEACHERS from all three Catholic schools in Orange will take industrial action on Wednesday leaving students with minimal supervision. 

About 130 Independent Education Union representatives from James Sheahan Catholic High School, Catherine McAuley Catholic Primary School and St Mary’s Catholic Primary School will not show up for work on Wednesday morning.

Instead, they will go to Bathurst for a rally. 

Independent Education Union organiser Jackie Groom said teachers were protesting against a proposed enterprise agreement that  would mean a reduction in the pay rate for support staff, abolition of class size limits and the deregulation of teachers’ work.

“The union has been meeting with employers both last term and on three occasions during the school holidays,” she said. 

“The union has pointed out in detail the shortcomings of the document.

“This attempt to strip back the working conditions of teachers and support staff, with its likely impact on teaching and learning, is not occurring in NSW government schools or in independent schools.”

After 12 weeks the Catholic Education Office hierarchy had not withdrawn from any aspect of the proposed enterprise agreement, she said.

Union general secretary John Quessy said he hoped the action would force the Catholic employers to negotiate on the proposal. 

“Members are assembling to protest the insulting and disrespectful proposal made by Catholic employers,” he said.

“They are also demonstrating their desire to protect the quality teaching and learning that they provide in schools. They have built this capacity which is now being threatened by the employer proposal,” Mr Quessy said.

Union representative Patricia Harvey said minimal supervision would be provided at the schools for children between the hours of 8.30am and 11.30am. 

It is anticipated school will resume as normal at 11.30am. 

There will be nine Catholic schools in the Bathurst diocese which will be affected by the action which is authorised under the Fair Work Act.

The rally will takes place at Paddy’s Hotel, Gilmour Street, Kelso. 

A Catholic Education Office statement said it was continuing to consult with staff about the draft enterprise agreement.

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