Unity is Strength
Teachers at New College Nottingham protesting against government pension plans. Wikimedia commons/Duncan Harris

In a bid to improve payrolls and other amenities at Catholic schools in Queensland, thousands of school teachers have decided not to work for two days.

According to the branch secretary of the Independent Education Union of Australia, as many as 6,300 teachers are together in this action that is due to take place on Sep. 16 and 17. The teachers have called upon the state government to pay them the same rate as their interstate counterparts.

Terry Burke, who is a former member for the seat of Perth in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly, argued that wages were highly inadequate and unequal. "We have a situation where experienced Queensland Catholic school teachers are thousands of dollars per year worse off than their interstate colleagues," he said in a statement.

As the union reports, the teachers in New South Wales get AU$6,700 more than the teachers in Queensland. They would also campaign for better management of time and an increase in the annual pay leave for support staff, such as lab technicians.

However, Queensland Catholic Education Commission said that teachers were recently offered a hike of 2.5 percent in their grade pay, which they outright rejected. One of commission’s spokesmen said some terms had been agreed to in principle but no official confirmation has been provided.

Commission executive director Dr Lee-Anne Perry confirmed that she has been in talks with the teachers for the past five months so as to come to negotiable terms. "Employers have provided a clear and considered response to each claim item, in particular by affirming flexibility at local school level," Perry said.

According to the Australian Associated Press, within next two weeks, further meetings will be held between the school authorities and the teachers. Teachers of total 171 schools would be demonstrating against the inequality in terms of pay for 30 minutes on the first day and for an hour the following day.

Burke said there is a possibility of full-day work stoppage if these conditions continue to prevail.

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