Strike action not over yet for Catholic school teachers
THE ongoing standoff between Catholic school teachers and their employers over wages and workloads could see strike action escalate.
More than 400 union-member teachers from 12 schools across Ipswich stopped work for two hours yesterday, as negotiations over their working conditions remained unresolved.
They took part in the industrial action in solidarity with more than 6300 school union members from 177 schools across Queensland.
The two-hour stoppage came after employees took initial stop work action at the end of the last school term.
Independent Education Union (IEU) Queensland and Northern Territory Branch secretary Terry Burke said Queensland Catholic school employers had continued to reject their employees' concerns in negotiations.
After seven months of talks, Mr Burke said the two sides were still trying to reach agreements on wages and work conditions.
Mr Burke argued that Queensland's most experienced Catholic teachers were earning nearly $7000 less than their NSW counterparts each year.
He also said the amount of preparation and correction time currently allocated to teachers was "inadequate".
The strike yesterday took place in the middle of the school day.
A lot of members used the time to meet at the Prince Alfred Hotel in Booval to consider their next steps in the face of unresolved negotiations.
However, Queensland Catholic Education Commission executive director Dr Lee-Anne Perry said the negotiations were "making good progress".
"While there are a number of issues that remain unresolved, the constructive nature of the discussions is encouraging," she said. "Employers remain committed to negotiating a fair and responsible outcome."
At present the IEU has demanded a 3.25% pay increase, however the QCEC has only offered a 2.5% salary bump.
Dr Perry said employers believed their pay rise offer was fair in current market conditions.
However, Mr Burke said if employers didn't "significantly amended their position" industrial action would likely escalate.
The union and QCEC will resume negotiations on October 27.