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Union says staff 'overwhelmed' and short-changed $6K

UNHAPPY EDUCATORS: Staff members at St Mary’s College joined more than 400 teachers from 11 Catholic schools across Ipswich in a strike to protest what they claim to be unfair work conditions and pay.
UNHAPPY EDUCATORS: Staff members at St Mary’s College joined more than 400 teachers from 11 Catholic schools across Ipswich in a strike to protest what they claim to be unfair work conditions and pay. Inga Williams

THE high quality of education offered at Ipswich Catholic schools is at risk, with many teachers feeling overworked and underpaid.

The matter was highlighted yesterday, when more than 400 teachers from 11 schools across the region stopped work as part of an ongoing battle for better work conditions and higher pay.

They took part in the industrial action in solidarity with more than 6300 school union members from 173 schools across Queensland.

The move followed claims that Catholic school employers in Queensland had failed to listen to employee concerns.

Independent Education Union (IEU) Queensland and Northern Territory Branch secretary Terry Burke said many teachers felt "overwhelmed" by the mounting workloads.

He said the amount of preparation and correction time currently allocated to teachers was "inadequate".

"As an example, with the use of technology in schools, teachers are now expected to plan power point presentations and post lessons online for interactive modules - that takes extra time," he said.

"The burden of all this extra work, places the quality of education offered at these schools at risk".

Mr Burke said the state's most experienced Catholic teachers were also underpaid compared to their interstate counterparts.

"Queensland Catholic school teachers at the top incremental step of the scale currently receive $6792 less each year than their equivalent counterparts in NSW," he said.

The IEU has demanded a 3.25% pay increase, however the Queensland Catholic Education Commission (QCEC) has only offered a 2.5% salary bump.

QCEC executive director Dr Lee-Anne Perry said Catholic school employers believed a fair and responsible package of wages and conditions had been offered to staff.

"Catholic school employers strive to fairly recognise and reward teachers and staff for their work," she said.

"Equally, the employers must be responsible managers and operate schools effectively in the best interests of staff, students, and their families".

Mr Burke said bargaining meetings were being held between the IEU and the Catholic Employers but that "no resolution was in sight".

The stop-work meeting, which took place at schools yesterday, lasted half an hour at the end of the school day. Teachers will again stop work at the end of today for an hour.

Mr Burke said if the IEU's demands were not met, the industrial action could escalate into a full-day work stoppage next term.

The next bargaining meeting is scheduled for October 13 and 14.

Topics:  catholic schools, independent education union, strike



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