Catholic teachers and staff stop work to strike for rights

STOP WORK: Teachers and staff from the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst taking part in the industrial action on Monday. 120417cstopwrk7
STOP WORK: Teachers and staff from the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst taking part in the industrial action on Monday. 120417cstopwrk7

TEACHERS and staff from Orange’s Catholic schools walked off the job on Monday for the second time in less than a month in protest against a proposed enterprise agreement (EA).

The Catholic Diocese of Bathurst staff joined workers from 350 schools across NSW and the ACT in the industrial action to fight for rights to arbitration and work loads.

Some of the staff from St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Catherine McAuley Catholic Primary School and James Sheahan Catholic High School were among thousands of teachers and support staff from across NSW who took take part in the stop-work action.

St Joseph’s School in Molong and staff from schools in Bathurst, Wellington, Dubbo, Cowra, Baradine, Lithgow and Blayney were also at the protest.

Independent Education Union Central West co-ordinator Jackie Groom was at the Bathurst rally and said arbitration was an “invaluable right”.

“When your workloads and your employment conditions are under threat or in dispute, and it can’t be resolved by conciliation, then you should have right like any other worker in Australia to go to an umpire, to go to arbitration,” she said.

Ms Groom said employers were encouraging staff to vote yes on the proposed EA on December 5 in order to receive a 2.5 per cent pay rise that was settled nearly a year ago.

Matt Hayes, from Bathurst’s Assumption School, said the right to arbitration was critical for all staff and adequate workloads must be maintained.

“It’s not about us inconveniencing people, it’s about taking a stand,” he said of the teachers’ action.

Teachers and education staff held rallies across NSW and the ACT on Monday.