CATHOLIC College Wodonga teachers say today’s protest rally in Wangaratta is not just for them but for the future of educators.
After almost two years of negotiations, discussions are still taking place between the Independent Education Union and Catholic employer representatives for better pay and conditions.
A group of 35 teachers from the Wodonga college will today join forces with their North East counterparts and IEU officials at Wangaratta’s Catholic Education Office.
Catholic College IEU sub-branch representative Andrew McKenzie-McHarg said teachers were fed up and angered by the lack of respect shown for the work they carry out every day.
“Everyone is concerned about how long the process is taking,” he said.
“We have lost two days’ pay already.
“This will be an after work meeting and we are expecting about 100 teachers from across the North East.”
Catholic school teachers joined their state counterparts’ stopwork in February.
To add further fury, the Australian Education Union representing government school teachers successfully negotiated a new workplace agreement for state teachers just two months later.
Catholic schools hold separate enterprise bargaining agreements with the Catholic Education Office, but their wages are linked to the state system, so they get the same pay rates at the same time as public school teachers.
However, after 20 straight months of failed negotiations and 60 meetings, Catholic school teachers are still without an agreement.
“We are hoping to see an end to it, but I won’t hold my breath,” Mr McKenzie-McHarg said of the protest rally.
Among the conditions teachers are fighting for include better superannuation, long service, annual leave entitlements and automatic progression through pay categories.
Louise Symons, a Wodonga Catholic College teacher for 28 years, said her main concern was the future of teachers.
“The unis want to up the course to five years, it’s just crazy,” she said.
“There’s no enticement to get people into the industry, it’s not seen as a good profession with the wage given.”