Local Catholic teachers reject enterprise agreement

Forty-five local Catholic School teachers attended a stop work meeting by the Independent Education Union on Monday over a proposed new enterprise agreement.
Forty-five local Catholic School teachers attended a stop work meeting by the Independent Education Union on Monday over a proposed new enterprise agreement.

More than 1800 Catholic School teachers across NSW including a number from the Shoalhaven stopped work for four hours on Monday protesting against a proposed enterprise agreement not gazetted by their union.

A Shoalhaven stop work meeting at the Bomaderry Bowling Club attracted 45 members of the Independent Education Union, who unanimously passed a motion to reject the enterprise agreement put forward by employers, the Catholic education system.

The proposed agreement, which Catholic employers have put straight  to employees in schools, removes workers rights to arbitration, a move the union says is unprecedented.

Shoalhaven Independent Education Union members watch a Live Facebook feed by secretary John Quessy who addressed members across the state.

Shoalhaven Independent Education Union members watch a Live Facebook feed by secretary John Quessy who addressed members across the state.

The new agreement does not provide employees the right to refer a dispute about their working conditions, as contained in the enterprise agreement and other documents, to the Fair Work Commission for conciliation and arbitration.

Without such a right, the union says the only way an employee could enforce a right in the enterprise agreement was by taking an expensive and stressful case to court.

Catholic employers have also sought to make longstanding agreements on class sizes, face to face teaching hours and release from face to face teaching for the preparation and marking unenforceable. Staff could also be terminated by employers at will.

Shoalhaven Independent Education Union members show their feeling against the proposed enterprise agreement.

Shoalhaven Independent Education Union members show their feeling against the proposed enterprise agreement.

The IEU has been negotiating with Catholic dioceses in NSW and ACT over a new enterprise agreement for over 12 months after the  previous agreement expired in December last year.

As a result employees have not received pay rises since 2016.

Members are due to meet again in early in term one next year to consider their employer’s response.