Rallying for the cause

Thousands of members in Catholic systemic schools took industrial action and participated in rallies throughout November to make sure employers heard their voice protesting attempts to push through an enterprise agreement which does not guarantee the right to arbitration and does not address other Union demands.

IEU Secretary John Quessy said Union members must not vote ‘yes’ to any enterprise agreement presented by employers and not endorsed by the IEU. He urged members not to be swayed by blackmail linking the delayed pay rise to the vote.

Rallies were held in Sydney, Parramatta, Gymea, Bateau Bay, Canberra, Newcastle, Aberdeen, Armidale, Tamworth, Albury, Wagga Wagga, Campbelltown, Wollongong, Bathurst and Tomakin. There were also stop work meetings at St Bernard's Catholic Primary School Berowra Heights, Good Shepard Primary School Plumpton, and St Joseph's Primary School Bulahdelah. Here’s some of what was said at the Sydney and Parramatta rallies:

Teaching for 33 years, I remember when the Catholic system used to respect teachers, it used to be behind unions. Now it’s basically union busting. Even the Pope supports unions, so why doesn’t our local Catholic system?
Peter Fitzgerald
Champagnat Catholic College
It’s important to remember that for over 100 years, unions have fought for the rights of workers to get fair wages and decent working conditions, and since the time of the Harvester Judgement in 1907, have insisted on our right to arbitration. Unfortunately, the CEO and CCER are trying to take away that historic unilateral right.”
Steve Bridges
Cerdon College
It’s great to see so many young people here. We want the CCER to respect our right to arbitrate.
Marita Wells
St Therese’s Primary Catholic School
Catholic employers can talk the talk but can’t walk the walk. They’ve proved themselves all piss and wind.
John Quessy
IEU Secretary
We are expected to be compliant, not to speak out about the injustices that occur in work places - classes of 34 - how is that fair on any teacher and their students? I am very sorry to report it is many, many teachers in the Sydney Archdiocese. And why is it wrong for us, this collective to speak out and say it should not be happening?
Bernadette Baker
St Mary’s Cathedral College
I’m always telling the kids to stand up and do what’s right. We’re here to practice what we preach.
Pauline Quealey
St Therese’s Primary Catholic School
The work and responsibility of support staff continues to grow. Their wages and conditions are modest, and many experience changes in work hours from year to year.
Patricia Murnane
McCarthy Catholic College
Emu Plains
The right to arbitration is not some fantasy. It exists in Victoria and Queensland for Catholic teachers. Why not ACT and NSW?
Chris Watt
IEUA Federal Secretary
There is nothing more important you can do as a union member than take industrial action.
Mark Morey
Unions NSW Secretary
They invited us to drinks and nibbles but we had to bring our data with us. One young teacher was told she was not committed enough because she didn’t attend.
Colleen Walsh
St Michael’s Catholic Primary School
Blacktown South
I believe in a collective voice, being present with each other as a community to send a strong message to employers that we care about each other and the future, demonstrating our commitment to our rights and the children we teach.
Maryanne Griffin
St Paul of the Cross Catholic Primary School
Dulwich Hill