IEU members in the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese took to the streets in December for their second round of stop work action.
The protected industrial action is a result of a long running dispute with the diocese following the decision by the church to restructure the Catholic Schools Office.
The restructure has seen over 30 IEU members to date stripped of enterprise agreement coverage and forced onto new diocesan individual contracts, and there is a genuine fear that church representatives will force more members onto contracts in the next 12 months.
The restructure known as Many Parts, One Body, One Mission saw the introduction of a diocesan chief executive officer and the forced transfer of IEU members from the Catholic Schools Office to a new diocesan department know as Shared Services.
In reality the new CEO has used an administrative restructure to reduce employee entitlements and remove their right to collectively bargain.
The church teaches that bargaining should be conducted on a collective rather than individual basis to ensure equity and justice, but in the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese, the church is moving employees from collective agreements onto individual contracts against their wishes. The individual contracts offer less sick leave, less long service leave, less parental leave and the removal of leave loading.