Catholic school teachers in Newcastle & Hunter Valley continue strikes as enterprise agreement voting begins

VOTING TIME: Primary school teacher Christine Garrett. Picture: Sylvia Liber.

VOTING TIME: Primary school teacher Christine Garrett. Picture: Sylvia Liber.

FIVE Catholic schools across the Hunter continued industrial action on Tuesday as voting commenced on an enterprise agreement put forward to staff without union endorsement.  

The vote, which is being completed electronically by teachers, support staff, cleaners and grounds workers, commenced at 8:30am on Tuesday and runs until 5pm on Monday. 

The Independent Education Union (IEU) representing employees, believes a large majority of staff will widely reject the proposal.

“Since the early 70’s the union’s been party to every state award or agreement,” IEU Newcastle officer Therese Fitzgibbon said. 

“It will be interesting to see what response we get from members, because certainly what we’re seeing is they are feeling very strongly for a ‘no’ vote.” 

Complicating the vote for staff is the lure of 2.5 per cent pay increase backdated to January 1, which some staff have been told they could receive before Christmas should a ‘yes’ vote succeed. 

Earlier this week, The Herald reported that the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (CCER) had decided to put a non-union endorsed enterprise agreement out to vote after 12 months of negotiations. 

Teachers from St Paul’s Primary School, Gateshead during stop-work action. Pciture: Supplied.

Teachers from St Paul’s Primary School, Gateshead during stop-work action. Pciture: Supplied.

However, a resolution on a new enterprise agreement for Catholic school teachers and support staff appears a long way off.

The continued industrial action followed Monday’s mass strikes involving over 300 local union members. 

Schools where workers stopped work on Tuesday included: St Peter's Campus, Maitland; St Therese's Primary School, New Lambton; St Paul's Primary School, Gateshead; St Joseph's Primary School, Charlestown; and St Pius X High School, Adamstown.