Catholic school teachers striking in Tasmania have voted to intensify an industrial campaign after teachers from 37 Catholic schools walked off the job yesterday, reports the ABC.
Negotiations between the Independent Education Union and the Catholic Education office broke down again last week. The union is fighting for better redundancy pay, more hours for support workers and recognition of work loads. The employer has said it could not afford the measures.
Teachers and support staff meeting in Hobart, Launceston and Devonport voted to step up their campaign. The union's Angela Briant told the Hobart meeting that the education office was pushing an unworkable offer.
'The money is there to pay for these reasonable claims, absolutely it is there,' she said. 'They're out of touch with the coalface, out of touch with the real needs of students, out of touch with the real needs of teacher assistants.'
The parties have been negotiating for 20 months. The education office has drafted its own revised enterprise bargaining agreement to be put to an Electoral Commission ballot.
Spokeswoman Trish Hindmarsh said it would allow all staff to vote on the offer, and denied it was a waste of time. 'In this case, with the new agreement, it will be voted on by everyone, so at the moment there's a quarter, maybe a third of staff who are union members and eligible to vote,' she said.
FULL STORY Tasmania's Catholic school teachers strike over pay and conditions (ABC)