Teachers on strike for fair wages
MICK Grew has been teaching for 20 years, including a decade in the Queensland Catholic Education system, but yesterday he walked out of the classroom frustrated by the fact he is one of the lowest paid in his profession in Australia.
He was one of hundreds of Catholic school teachers from across the Southern Downs taking part in a Queensland-wide strike action pushing for equal pay.
“It is just unreasonable to think Catholic employers can expect the same teaching levels and involvement in extra curricular activities as other schools, but then offer less pay,” Mr Grew said.
The Stanthorpe-based teacher said ironically teachers’ calls for equal professional pay rates were well supported by parents and local principals.
“They too can see the disparity in Catholic Ed’s failure to offer equal pay rates,” Mr Grew said.
“The simple fact is we are doing the same job and soon we’ll be teaching exactly the same things under the national curriculum, so we need pay rates equal to those teachers in the state system.”
Queensland Independent Education Union organiser Nick Holliday was in Warwick for the rally yesterday.
He said school teachers in the Queensland Catholic system were among the lowest paid nationally.
“They are $1000 behind teachers in the Queensland state system and up to $7000 behind their interstate colleagues,” Mr Holliday said.
“Taking this industrial action is a last resort for teachers, but unfortunately it has proved the only effective way to bring Catholic employers to the negotiating table.”
Mr Holliday said yesterday’s strike action had forced employers to agree to round table discussions about pay conditions on March 31.
In Warwick Catholic teachers also called for a lobby group of their peers to take their case to the head of the Toowoomba Diocese Bishop William Morris.
Local teacher Jim Armstrong said it was a move borne out of genuine frustration.
“This is last resort action, we are not just looking at ourselves, but how the issue of lower professional pay rates will impact on the Catholic Education system into the future,” he said.
“If we continue to be the lowest paid teachers nationally it will impact on who we have teaching in Catholic schools.”
Qld Catholic teachers earn $1055 less than those in state system
They also earn up to $7000 less than interstate colleagues