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On Friday, a strike of teachers in Catholic schools NSW | Schools

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About 18,000 teachers and support staff from 540 Catholic diocesan schools New South Wales and the Australian metropolitan area are preparing for a strike on Friday over wages and conditions.

The Independent Education Union (IEU) says its members will stop work to hold rallies in both jurisdictions as part of the first in 18 years to suspend full-time Catholic school teachers.

The union wants teachers to receive a 10-15% pay rise over two years, and to have fewer documents, more free time for students to plan and end staff shortages.

The industrial action came after a 24-hour strike three weeks ago by teachers of public schools in New Wales. These teachers were concerned about the chronic shortage of teachers and demanded an increase in wages above 2.5% of the limit applicable to wage growth in the public sector.

IEU NSW / ACT branch secretary Mark Northam said teachers rarely take action.

“Uncompetitive wages, volatile workloads and staff shortages have taken them beyond,” Northam said.

The IEU, which represents 32,000 teachers and support staff across NSW and ACT, will have to wait until next month’s NSW budget to see if teachers will receive significant salary increases.

State Prime Minister Dominique Perotte has said the government will lift the 2.5% wage cap, which has been in effect since 2011, for front-line workers in the June 21 budget.

The salary limit applies to civil servants. Although Catholic employers are not bound by the public service rate, they have historically followed suit.

This week, one Catholic diocese proposed raising school staff salaries, which exceeded the government’s 2.5% limit, but it did not come close to union demands.

“If there is no improved proposal after Friday, the IEU executive will meet to consider further industrial action,” Northam said.

Perrote said he was “clearly upset” by the strike, not least because several of his own children are studying in Catholic schools.

He said many parents would experience inconvenience, and although he sympathized with the challenges facing workers, labor shortages and a pandemic had created a difficult time for all.

“Ultimately, we are all in this together … from our position we are working through the area of ​​responsibility we have for the New Wales public sector,” Perotete said.

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