Catholic systemic members step up

There was a huge turnout at 10 rallies across NSW and the ACT on Friday 27 May. It was the IEU's first full-day stoppage since 2004. The 18-year gap is telling.

The role of teachers has changed dramatically. The expectations placed upon a teacher have magnified considerably. Accountability is up, but time to undertake the role has not changed.

The action taken by members to secure additional scheduled release time was entirely reasonable. Differentiation and inclusion demand it.

Support staff are seeking the conditions their government school colleagues have enjoyed since 2019. It is unreasonable for support staff to wait any longer.

Untangling teacher salaries and support staff pay from NSW public servants’ pay is enormously complex.

Catholic employers (all bar the Broken Bay Diocese) are adhering to the principle of parity with NSW Government teachers.

Broken Bay Diocese has offered both primary and secondary staff an additional one-hour/week release for the 2022 school year.

Further, the Broken Bay Diocese tabled an unsolicited position of a further 1.24% pay offer. This in no way matches the impost associated with inflation and does not meet reasonable union demands of a salary reset and ongoing annual increases beyond the NSW Government’s 2.5% salary cap, in place since 2011.

What’s the mood?

IEU members want Catholic employers, the NSW Government and their school communities to know that serious staffing shortages are impacting teaching and learning.

While the Albanese Government has indicated teaching scholarships will become available ($10,000 a year for metro students and $12,000 for regional students), the lived reality in schools demands immediate action.

The profession is not attracting sufficient candidates into university teacher education courses and retention is a serious issue.

Members are clamouring for change. Change needs to tackle excessive programming demands, unnecessary data collection, onerous PD requirements and diocesan overlays far beyond what NESA and TQI are seeking.

System ‘initiatives’ with little or no consultation must be curtailed. The new Australian Education Research Organisation must become a clearing house where new ideas are tested and evaluated. The determinations it makes must be accepted.

Rallies in Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong, Canberra, Lennox Head, Port Macquarie, Tamworth, Wagg Wagga, Bathurst and Dubbo have sent Catholic employers the clear message that change is necessary for Catholic systemic schools to flourish.

Members are demanding fairer outcomes. The negotiation process is continuing. But beyond these negotiations, the NSW Government must lift its legislated 2.5% salary cap if teaching is to be made an attractive career choice throughout the state.