Teachers and support staff in Catholic systemic schools gave their employers a short, sharp reminder to come to the negotiating table by conducting a one-hour stopwork on Tuesday 15 November from 8.30am to 9.30am (with some chapters taking action at different times). This was legally protected industrial action.
Members were protesting the lack of progress on negotiations for a new enterprise agreement.
“Talks began in early February,” said IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary Mark Northam. “It was mid-November and employers were no closer to resolving pay issues.”
During the stopwork hour, Chapters united in a strong show of support and solidarity. Some gathered to march out their school gate in bright yellow Hear Our Voice t-shirts, others waved flags, took photos, or met offsite for a well-deserved cuppa (see pages 8-9). One chapter held a letter-writing masterclass, urging employers to take immediate and meaningful action on workloads.
The IEU had written to employers on 25 October complaining about the slow progress. By 10 November, the IEU had not received a response, leaving members with no option but to vote on taking stopwork action.
“Members were tired and frustrated with their employers’ failure to respect them by negotiating in a fair and timely manner,” Northam said.