More than 70 teachers, support staff and retired members from schools in Orange, Bathurst, Lithgow, Oberon and Kelso gathered at Paddy’s Hotel in Kelso to protest their stagnating salaries and unsustainable workloads.
Aboriginal Educator and IEU member Kylie Martinez welcomed members and provided an Acknowledgement of Country.
Kylie, who is also a member of the IEU Executive, read out the resolution proposed by the Executive and the rally endorsed it unanimously.
IEU Organiser Jackie Groom addressed the crowd, outlining the lack of progress in the bargaining for a new enterprise agreement. She referred to the submission made by the Australian Catholic Council for Employment Relations to the Fair Work Commission’s review of the national minimum wage, in which the Bishops advocate for an increase of 6.5%. At the same time, Catholic diocesan employers are offering just 2.04% to teachers – even as the Catholic submission to the Inquiry into Teacher Training acknowledges that salaries and conditions need to improve to attract and retain staff in Catholic schools.
The media interviewed teachers and support staff, who said they were on their first full-day strike since 2004 because they cared about their profession and providing the optimum teaching and learning environment for their students.
Members who had talked to parents and explained the reason for the strike action were confident parents saw the action as necessary if teachers and support staff were to continue providing high-quality education for their children.
Staff shortages, crippling workloads, admin and paperwork, and lack of proper time to plan are unsustainable and leaving staff exhausted.
IEU Organiser Greg McKinney read out messages of support from other unions and members marched to the Catholic Education Office where a delegation presented the resolution (see below) to the Director and Head of Human Resources.
Members delivered this statement to Catholic employers on Friday 27 May.
IEU members call upon Catholic employers to take immediate steps to meet the union’s claims for improved salaries and conditions for all teachers and support staff.
Urgent action is required to address the severe staff shortages impacting all Catholic systemic schools in NSW and the ACT.
Teachers and support staff deserve a better deal. It’s time to hear our voice and act. Professional respect is at the core of the union’s claims.
This meeting also calls on the IEU Executive to determine further action to achieve our claims.