Teachers and support staff at Bathurst Catholic schools will walk off the job on Wednesday morning as part of a protracted pay dispute with their employers.
Striking staff will hold a stop-work meeting at Paddy’s Hotel from 9.30am.
They will also hold Rallies for Rights and take to the streets to highlight their cause.
The Bathurst action is part of rolling stop works in schools across NSW and the ACT and staff say it is a last resort as Catholic employers have failed to respond to the Independent Education Union’s attempt to negotiate for almost a year.
The enterprise agreement covering Catholic schools expired in December 2016, and members have yet to receive the agreed pay rise of 2.5 per cent while they fight for their rights to arbitration.
IEUA NSW/ACT branch secretary John Quessy said the right of the union to take disputes to arbitration by an independent umpire was a basic right being denied by employers.
This right was available to Catholic school staff in other states, and staff in Catholic-run hospitals and aged care facilities in NSW and the ACT, Mr Quessy said.
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“We’re not sure why they are singling out Catholic schools in NSW and the ACT,” he said.
“Without the right to arbitration, enterprise agreements are compromised.
“While we are loathe to take any action which disturbs students’ education, it’s crucial that employers cannot stop the union seeking a hearing at the Fair Work Commission.
“It’s rather ironic that we are having a long-running dispute to fight for the right to resolve disputes quickly and fairly.”
It is understood that each school involved with the strike will communicate with parents about the level of supervision available for students during the stop-work meeting.