Catholic school teachers across the Riverina will protest and stop work on Monday, taking a stand in the latest round of industrial action.
Chapter representative Ian McGrath, who works at Mater Dei Catholic College, is ready to send a clear message.
“Teachers don’t take this decision lightly because the nature of the job is about supporting the children and the community,” he said.
“It is difficult to take this position because it has a knock on effect.”
Independent Education Union secretary John Quessy said members were at “boiling point” after an enterprise agreement went to the vote without gaining a union endorsement.
Mr McGrath said the action had 100% support of all catholic schools across the Riverina, with 16 expected at rallies in three different locations and has called for community support.
“We are asking for the parents to support us and we hope they will see this as an important issue,” Mr McGrath said.
“It’s important for teachers to have this access and be able to simply get on with the job.
“We have no choice but to take industrial action.”
Mr McGrath said members were being “blackmailed” and offered their prior agreed pay rise in exchange for a yes agreement vote.
“If we vote yes we can have it but we are entitled to it,” he said.
“The state schools got this raise 12 months ago and didn’t have to sacrifice any conditions.”
The ICU insists the dispute is not focused on pay but rather the catholic employers union right to access the Fair Work Commission for arbitration, with enterprise agreement details yet to be resolved.
ICU Canberra officer Lyn Caton, who will spearhead the Griffith rally, said it was a basic social justice right to have an independent party judging the strength of an agreement.
“The challenge for all teachers is that the students are their first concerns but being Catholics – this social justice and support is important to them,” she said.
“They have always honoured arbitration up until March this year so this really is concerning.”
The strike is expected to last four hours, with a rally held at the Wagga RSL at 10am.
The vote is due to start on December 5 and set to finish on December 11.
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