St Joseph’s staff join in strike action

ON STRIKE: Independent Education Union NSW/ACT assistant secretary Mark Northam (centre, back to camera) at the stirke. Photo: NADINE MORTON
ON STRIKE: Independent Education Union NSW/ACT assistant secretary Mark Northam (centre, back to camera) at the stirke. Photo: NADINE MORTON

TEACHERS and support staff from Catholic Diocese of Bathurst schools have walked off the job to fight for their rights to arbitration.

Eight members of staff from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Blayney also took part in the strike on Wednesday.

The Independent Education Union (IEU) representative at the school, Kelly Sullivan, said that she was very happy with the turnout.

“It was a good thing that we did,” she said, “We’re simply looking for arbitration, the same as what Catholic Schools in Queensland and Victoria have.”

IEU NSW/ACT assistant secretary Mark Northam said the enterprise agreement covering Catholic schools expired in December, 2016 and it failed to protect workers arbitration rights.

“The purpose of today’s action in the Diocese of Bathurst is to tap the local director on the shoulder and request that she reconsiders her position and that arbitration is a perfectly reasonable thing for the teachers and support staff that work in this diocese to enjoy,” he said.

“There’s not much dignity in the independent Catholic school system if you can’t have arbitration.”

Mr Northam said the statewide rolling strike was not about money, rather it was about protecting the rights of 20,000 workers across NSW and the ACT.

“If you want a school to run well and you don’t want people stressing about what their roles are you need and agreement,” he said.

Mr Northam said workers have had arbitration rights since the 1970s and if this was taken away it could lead to uncertainty, misunderstandings and embitterment.