John Quessy can see the irony in having a dispute on how to resolve a dispute.
But the NSW/ACT branch secretary for the Independent Education Union Australia says Catholic school teachers and support staff were left with little choice as their employers want the power to veto a dispute being arbitrated by the Fair Work Commission.
That’s why earlier this week representatives from the IEUA dropped by the Wollongong Diocese head office and handed over a petition signed by more than 1000 members from 32 schools calling on its director to quickly resolve this dispute, by granting staff this basic right to arbitration.
If employers do not back down, and allow Catholic teachers the same rights as those enjoyed by public school teachers, employees in Catholic aged care facilities or Catholic school employees in every other state, strike action is planned for next term.
Mr Quessy said the union was offering the employers a chance to resolve the dispute without the need for industrial action.
‘’The union is happy to work with employers to avoid industrial action and finalise an enterprise agreement. They just have to consent to the right to arbitration,’’ he said.
Mr Quessy said the dispute resolution clause was the major sticking point in signing off on a new enterprise agreement.
‘’When we ultimately settle [agreement], it should have a statement in it which says either side can refer the matter to arbitration. We want an umpire that either side can call on when the umpire is needed,’’ he said.