Dioceses in denial:

industrial action possible

Members will recall the current enterprise agreement (EA) for teachers and support staff in NSW and ACT Catholic systemic schools expired at the end of 2016.

The Union has lodged pay claims for teachers and support staff in NSW and ACT, reflecting public sector outcomes. A key focus of our claim is also the protection and improvement of working conditions, which are central to the working lives of our members.

The Union will not settle our 2017 pay claim unless we have substantial progress in working conditions.


The Union has met with all dioceses to discuss the workload and work intensification components of our claim. We have also met on a number of occasions with the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (CCER) on behalf of the dioceses to discuss some core elements of our claim, including teacher classifications and support staff issues. CCER advised the Union in December and again in February that we should discuss the teacher workloads claim and work intensification issues directly with dioceses.

Despite this, as at the time of writing, only three dioceses have responded in any way formally to our workload and work intensification claims.

Some diocesan directors have written to their employees claiming that the Union has recently changed its position and this has delayed a response by dioceses to the Union’s claims. The Union rejects this allegation as totally unfounded.

In order to speed up the glacial pace of negotiations the Union wrote to directors in late February to provide detailed clauses on many of the Union workload and work intensification claims.

These clauses did not relate to new claims as each of the items was included in the original claim; the wording was consistent with our earlier negotiations and in some cases reflected wording already contained in the enterprise agreement or work practice agreements but applicable to only some dioceses.

Dioceses that have not yet responded should get on with preparing a response to the Union claims rather than blame the Union for their own delay.

Chapter support

The IEU has sent a detailed report on the negotiations to chapters in all NSW and ACT Catholic systemic schools. We have also asked chapters to endorse the steps necessary to take protected industrial action if there is not significant progress. If your chapter has not yet met to discuss the February 2017 NewsExtra and proposed motion, do so as soon as possible.

Protected action

The Union Council meets on Saturday, 18 March and will consider a progress report on the negotiations, diocese by diocese. Recommendations to commence the process for protected action will be considered at the meeting. Members will be advised of the outcome of the Council’s consideration. Contact your IEU organiser if you have any queries.

Carol Matthews
Assistant Secretary