STOP WORK: Teachers Paul Monahan, Carolyn Moore and Tony Channell at the Catholic System Schools strike at South Tweed Sports Club on Monday, December 4.
STOP WORK: Teachers Paul Monahan, Carolyn Moore and Tony Channell at the Catholic System Schools strike at South Tweed Sports Club on Monday, December 4. Liana Turner

Tweed teachers join strike over EA

TWEED Catholic school teachers were among thousands across the state who stopped work for industrial action on Monday.

Thousands of school students were kept home as rallies and industrial action meetings took place across NSW as Independent Education Union members from about 350 Catholic schools gathered to demand a new agreement, 12 months after the existing NSW and ACT Catholic System Schools Enterprise Agreement expired.

IEU Secretary John Quessy said members had reached "boiling point” as employers put forward an enterprise agreement which wasn't union-endorsed.

With a vote set to begin on Tuesday, Mr Quessy urged opposition to the agreement, which would veto the union's right to access the Fair Work Commission for arbitration.

"The mood of members has lifted with more than 100 additional schools taking part in this second round of action following a series of a stop works in early November,” Mr Quessy said.

"This has never been done before in Australian history. Catholic employers are coming for our members' rights and they will not tolerate that. We are urging a 'no' vote.

"It is clear they want absolute power over their employees and the members are standing firm against this.” Carolyn Moore, an IEU industry officer for the Tweed, said about 80 staff from Tweed Heads, Murwillumbah and Kingscliff schools attended a rally at South Tweed Sports Club on Monday.

She said disturbing their students' learning - a rare move for Catholic schools - was not something their members would do lightly.

In a letter to parents, Director fo Catholic Schools for the Lismore Diocese David Condon said he believed the employer's EA was a "fair agreement” which would work well.

"Our school system works effectively and diligently to ensure all staff are treated with dignity, respect and are fully rewarded,” he said.



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