In NSW, Queensland and the NT this week, thousands of teachers have protested the pays and conditions offered to them.
Teachers from across Western Sydney stepped up their campaign for fair salaries and workloads and rallied outside Education Minister Prue Car’s Londonderry office at to call on the Minns Government to honour its agreement to tackle the teacher shortage.
In the state electorate of Londonderry there are 21 full time teacher vacancies. A parliamentary question on notice in July revealed there are 1820 vacancies across the State.
Teachers feel betrayed that the Government struck and then reneged on a one-year agreement to lift wages to make beginning and experienced teachers the nation’s best paid.
In early August the Minns government insisted on an additional three-year clause capping wage movements at 2.5 per cent eroding the first-year increase.
Teachers Federation acting President, Henry Rajendra along with local teachers who are fed up with being overwhelmed and overworked addressed the crowd.
Further, The IEU NSW/ACT is considering protected action on the teacher pay dispute.
Mark Northam, Secretary of the IEUA NSW/ACT Branch, said, “There is a teacher shortage in Catholic schools as well and our employers need to act and tell the Government to act on teacher pay”.
The IEU Executive passed a motion authorising protected action should the teacher pay dispute not be resolved by Friday 18 August 2023.
Members are encouraged to take photos of their Chapter members wearing yellow and holding slogans on teacher pay which will be sent these to local MPs to keep up the political pressure.
The IEUA NSW/ACT Executive will meet again on Friday 18 August 2023 to discuss the specifics of potential protected action in support of teacher pay.
In Queensland and the Northern Territory thousands of employees across 34 Queensland Catholic schools took protected industrial action, stopping work for five-minutes from 8:30-8:35am and undertaking a range of work bans throughout the day.
Some of Queensland’s most prestigious Catholic schools including All Hallows’ School, Lourdes Hill College, St Joseph’s Nudgee College, St Patrick's College (Shorncliffe) and Marist College Ashgrove saw the protest unfold.
IEU-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said union members were taking protected industrial action in support of reaching an agreement in collective bargaining negotiations with Queensland Catholic school employers.
“Employers are behaving as if collective bargaining negotiations are over, despite this very clear message from their employees that there are key issues outstanding,” Mr Burke said.
“Employers have said they will soon ballot their proposal to set wages and conditions in Queensland Catholic schools for the next four years, but they have no ‘in-principle’ agreement with IEU-QNT members,” he said.
Mr Burke said IEU-QNT members could not support a proposal that leaves key bargaining issues unaddressed.
“Members are not convinced employers are addressing key issues in schools,” Mr Burke said.
“They are taking the action as part of a campaign to address the workload crisis that is seeing teachers leave the sector in droves.”
IEU-QNT members did not perform any work unless they are wearing a campaign sticker; did not attend staff meetings (except meetings regarding student welfare); banned any duties or activities during scheduled meal breaks; banned supervision or cover periods; banned playground or transport supervision; banned any duties to comply with employer requests for data collection; and banned all communications outside of 8:30am to 3:30pm.
“The behaviour of Queensland Catholic school employers during these negotiations can only be described as intimidatory.
“They have refused to listen to employees’ concerns, discouraged union members’ protected action at every opportunity and are now trying to ballot a proposal that IEU-QNT members do not support.
“IEU-QNT members’ protected industrial action is about getting a better outcome for Catholic school staff, students and communities.
“Our union urges employers to re-consider their approach to these negotiations and return to the bargaining table with proposals to address employees’ outstanding concerns,” Mr Burke said.
Teachers in Toowoomba stopped work across 13 Toowoomba Catholic schools and members of the Independent Education Union – Queensland and Northern Territory (IEU-QNT) stopped work for five-minutes from 8:30-8:35am and undertook a range of “work bans” throughout the day.
IEU-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said, “Employers are behaving as if collective bargaining negotiations are over, despite this very clear message from their employees that there are key issues outstanding,”
“Employers have said they will soon ballot their proposal to set wages and conditions in Toowoomba Catholic schools for the next four years, but they have no ‘in-principle’ agreement with IEU-QNT members.”