More than 1000 Wollongong Catholic teachers and support staff joined their NSW colleagues in rejecting their employers’ enterprise agreement outright.
A resounding 14,031 from 15,968 teachers and support staff in 11 Catholic dioceses voted down the Catholic employers’ EA, which was not endorsed by their union.
Almost 85 per cent of the 1304 people from the Diocese of Wollongong who took part in the ballot, voted no.
Across the state the no vote was closer to 90 per cent, and followed a series of rolling stoppages coordinated by the Independent Education Union (IEU), in November and December.
At issue was the refusal to guarantee access to arbitration by the Fair Work Commission in regard to any future disputes about the EA and other agreed conditions.
‘’Hopefully Catholic employers in the 11 dioceses, including Wollongong, will now listen to the powerful message from their staff/ our IEU members and resume bargaining in good faith for an EA which will protect and enhance the interests of teachers and support staff,’’ IEU coordinator Pam Smith said.
‘’In particular, we hope that employers will hear that their staff value the vital importance of access to arbitration in the resolution of disputes.’’
IEU secretary John Quessy was pleased with the NO vote but said a EA which is acceptable to their members still needed to be thrashed out.
He said the IEU wanted to reopen a dialogue with Catholic employers
‘’If employers have the best interests of their staff at heart, they’ll return to the bargaining table to negotiate a reasonable agreement,’’ Mr Quessy said.
‘’Members have shown that they are willing to take strike action, and employers should have no doubts about whether they will continue to, if their right to arbitration in particular is not upheld.’’
Read more: Wollongong Catholic teachers to strike again