Catholic teachers to strike during school hours

TEACHERS at two Catholic schools on the Fraser Coast are set to strike again, this time during school hours.

Both Xavier Catholic College and St Mary's Catholic Primary School are two of the 177 schools across Queensland which will be affected by the "work stop" organised by the Independent Education Union Australia - Queensland and Northern Territory branch.

The strike will take place Thursday October 22, between 11am and 1pm.

But school's authorities are not concerned.

St Mary's Catholic Primary School principal Stuart McKillon said next Thursday would run as usual.

"Any proposed minor strike action proposed by some IEUA-QNT members will not affect the professional running of St Mary's Primary School," he said.

Mr McKillon's stance is reflected by the schools' employment authority, the Archdiocese of Brisbane spokesman John Phelan.

Mr Phelan said students would be properly supervised during the "minimal disruption".

"Most teachers in Catholic schools will not be taking action," he said.

"(As) only about 25% of Catholic school teachers voted in favour of industrial action."

However IEUA-QNT branch secretary Terry Burke has hit back at those who have said a negligible affect on school operations will be incurred.

"To claim most teachers are not taking the action is incorrect as under the Industrial Act, authorised employees do not need to inform their employer that they are taking action," Mr Burke said.

"Members will not be available for work during this time and do not have to inform their employer that they are taking the action."

IEUA-QNT branch secretary Terry Burke said school employers had failed to address employees' workload and wage concerns.

But Queensland Catholic Education Commission executive director Dr Lee-Anne Perry thinks the union's request is unreasonable.

"Combined with the proposed 2.5% wage increase, these (top tier) teachers will be earning over $93,000 per annum, which is more than experienced teachers currently earn in New South Wales Catholic schools," she said.

"In this context the 3.25% increase being sought by the Union is out of step with the current market conditions."

Next Thursday's protected stop work follows on from the protected action taken by IEUA-QNT members at both schools from September 14 to 18.



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