Catholic school staff win greater rights, conditions

by Brett Henebery28 Apr 2015

The Independent Education Union (IEU) today announced the details of a “significant breakthrough” that now looks set to finally end more than 12 months of negotiations with the Catholic Commission of Employment Relations (CCER).
“This result was achieved by the members’ determination to stick up for quality education,” said IEU General Secretary, John Quessy.
“It’s a testimony to members’ solidarity in the face of a very difficult campaign,” Quessy said.
After more than 12 months of tough negotiations the Union achieved a major breakthrough on Friday, including:
  • maintaining the right to a 30-minute lunch break
  • ensuring professional development, required by the employer or legislation, is undertaken in work time
  • avoiding the need for a medical certificate after single days of sick leave
  • supporting teachers during the accreditation process
  • safeguarding support staff wages and conditions
  • maintaining existing working conditions, like class sizes
  • providing fair procedures for staff  subject to complaints
  • pay increases consistent with the  government sector.
“We have come a long way in the last 380 days, during a campaign built around recognising the work teachers and support staff do, respecting their professionalism and rewarding them for it.” Quessy said.
Quessy told The Educator that the controversial Catholic ethos clause remains “the only major issue” unresolved, adding that Catholic employers are still insisting on retaining a key sentence that the IEU wants changed.
In March, Sydney State MP, Alex Greenwich, wrote a letter to NSW Premier, Mike Baird, and Opposition Leader, Luke Foley, saying the highly controversial clause requires Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) employees to hide their sexual persuasion or risk losing their jobs.
"Forcing teachers to hide their sexuality for fear of losing their job is bad for both teachers and students,” the letter stated.

“If teachers or other staff are fired for their sexuality, this will impact significantly on same-sex-attracted students while encouraging bullying and homophobia."
The IEU is now working on the details of an enterprise agreement that will be presented to members for final approval as soon as possible.