Queensland Catholic school teachers and support staff resolve to continue community campaign as thousands attend mass meetings across the state
Further industrial action possible if employers fail to take action to protect quality education
Over 8,500 Queensland Catholic school teachers and support staff from 242 school sites were authorised to take strike action on 25 February 2016, with thousands taking part in mass member rallies across the state as they continue their campaign to protect quality education in their schools.
Independent Education Union of Australia – Queensland and Northern Territory (IEUA-QNT) Branch Secretary Terry Burke said more than 1,000 members gathered at a mass meeting at the Brisbane Convention Centre while close to 2000 other members united at meetings in Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Kingaroy, Hervey Bay, Rockhampton, Townsville, Cairns, the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.
View photo highlights from these mass meetings in the gallery below.
“At these meetings IEUA-QNT members have voted to widen their campaign to engage the broad community in support of the campaign to protect high quality Catholic education across Queensland,” Mr Burke said.
“The message from employees across the state today was very clear – they will continue their campaign until Queensland Catholic employers make the significant interventions needed to address the increasing workloads and the long-standing wage disparity faced by teachers,” he said.
Mr Burke said members across the state had also endorsed consideration of further protected industrial action should the employers continue in their failure to listen to employees’ serious concerns.
“Thousands of our members – teachers and support staff – took full day strike action today and in doing so lost a day’s pay – and all for the fundamental reason of protecting the quality of education they provide to their students and to protect the future of Queensland Catholic schools,” he said.
Mr Burke said continued statements from the Queensland Catholic Education Commission (QCEC) which sought to mislead parents and the community in regard to the number of employees taking action revealed their true lack of respect for the thousands of their employees taking action today.
“The fact is 85% of members who voted in the recent protect action ballot to take full day work stoppages voted yes – they did so because the employer position continues to put the quality of education in Catholic schools at risk,” Mr Burke said.
“Parents are also contacting us to say that claims that schools remain open are a nonsense and they are unhappy with the dislocated and unstructured programs, such as year level ‘discos’, being used to fill in the day to pretend that schools remain ‘open’.”
“Parents deserve high quality education for their children and that’s what our campaign is about,” Mr Burke said.
The full day strike action will continue in Mackay next Tuesday 1 March with authorised members in that region set to attend a mass member rally at the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre from 10am.
A further round of negotiations between employees and the employers is scheduled for 9 March 2016.