Catholic school teachers to stop work

Teachers in the Parramatta Catholic Diocese will take part in a stop-work meeting at Prince Alfred Park, Parramatta, tomorrow to protest conditions proposed in their new enterprise agreement.

All but 19 of the 78 primary and high schools in the diocese — which includes Blacktown, The Hills, Holroyd, Parramatta and Penrith council areas — voted for the protected industrial action that will take place from 9am until noon.

A teacher at Patrician Brothers College in Blacktown said changes to career progression were among the concerns, with some teachers questioning how deputy leadership positions would be developed under the new agreement.

"I think they saw the original document that was put forward and wanted to make sure their voice was heard," he said.

"Teachers give up a lot of their time voluntarily to do things without financial gain because they just want to be involved, but . . . no matter what profession you are in the cost of living is very expensive.

"If you want to attract the right people to the profession you need to make sure it's a competitive salary."

Executive director of schools in the diocese Greg Whitby said he was disappointed staff had voted for industrial action so early in the negotiation process.

"It fosters an adversarial position rather than the collaborative approach we are seeking," he said. "Negotiations have not stalled, they have only just begun.

"We want an agreement that provides safeguards for staff, and one that also provides enough flexibility to cater for the diverse needs of teachers and staff across our schools."

Mr Whitby said six listening meetings would be held as part of the negotiation process.

He said he did not expect significant interruption to school attendance tomorrow, with supervision provided as necessary. Parents have been asked to contact their school for confirmation.

Details of the enterprise agreement are at: foundationsforexcellence.com.au..

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