Catholic teachers strike

CATHOLIC school teachers from 22 schools across the region will walk off the job tomorrow in protest over a proposal they say threatens pay levels, conditions and job security.

Tomorrow’s stopwork action follows striking from their colleagues in Sydney and on the Central Coast on Tuesday and those from Parramatta, Penrith, the Blue Mountains and the Hills district today. 

Tomorrow, teachers and support staff from across the Armidale diocese will strike for three hours.

Stopwork meetings will be held in the morning at the Tamworth Town Hall and in Armidale at Central Park.

Independent Education Union general secretary John Quessy said members had “overwhelmingly endorsed” the stopwork action.

“It’s probably 1.5 per cent who voted against it,” he said.

Mr Quessy said teachers were concerned the proposed new enterprise agreement would lead to larger classes, fewer resources and a reduction in the quality of education for students. 

Teachers were already stretched, Mr Quessy said, and taking away resources, such as teachers’ assistants, while increasing class sizes would “remove the safety net”. 

Catholic Commission for Employment Relations executive director Tony Farley has described the industrial action as premature and unhelpful to the negotiation process.

“From the very beginning, Catholic employers advised the union that the draft proposal was the start of a discussion about developing a modern agreement,” Mr Farley said.

“We acknowledge that the draft proposal is a new approach, which for some teachers and staff has caused uncertainty.

“This is a new landscape for education. Schools are different places than what they once were.”

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