Teachers and support staff in Catholic schools in the Bathurst Diocese in central west NSW and their union representatives were left frustrated on Wednesday 26 February when the newly appointed Executive Director of Schools for the diocese, Christina Trimble, cancelled negotiations for a new Work Practices Agreement at short notice. The current agreement expired in December 2019.
In an unprecedented move that has stymied progress, the director asked teachers and their representatives to return to the drawing board to redraft and resubmit certain claims.
About 550 teachers and 115 support staff in 33 Catholic systemic schools in the region, including James Sheahan High School at Orange and St Matthew’s Catholic School at Mudgee, were disappointed to find the new director had squandered this initial opportunity to bargain in good faith.
“The time to talk is now,” said IEUA NSW/ACT Secretary Mark Northam. “It is incumbent upon the director to meet in good faith and progress negotiations.”
Teachers, support staff and the IEU are keen to progress negotiations, with issues such as workloads, practical class sizes, additional release time and a better deal for part time workers high on the agenda.
“We are keen to get the workloads negotiations moving so the 2.5 per cent payrise, overdue since January this year, is not further delayed,” Northam added.
The schools affected by this issue are: All Hallows Primary School, Gulgong; The Assumption School, Bathurst; Cathedral Primary School, Bathurst; Holy Family School, Kelso; La Salle Academy, Lithgow; Mackillop College, Bathurst; James Sheahan High School, Orange; Sacred Heart, Coolah; St Brigid’s Primary, Coonamble; St Columba’s, Yeoval; St Edward’s Primary, Canowindra; St John’s Primary, Baradine; St John’s College (Senior), Dubbo East; St John’s Primary, Dubbo; St Joseph’s Primary, Blayney; St Joseph’s School, Eugowra; St Joseph’s, Gilgandra; St Joseph’s, Manildra; St Joseph’s, Molong; St Joseph’s Primary, Oberon; Catherine McAuley Primary, Orange; St Joseph’s Primary, Portland; St Laurence’s Primary, Dubbo; St Lawrence’s Primary, Coonabarabran; St Mary’s Primary, Dubbo; St Mary’s Primary, Orange; St Mary’s, Wellington; St Matthew’s Catholic School, Mudgee; St Michael’s Primary, Dunedoo; St Patrick’s Primary, Lithgow; St Philomena’s, Bathurst; St Pius X Primary, Dubbo West; St Raphael’s Central School, Cowra.