Catholic teachers threaten strike

Catholic school teachers across Victoria have threatened to strike unless their demands for more money, smaller class sizes and better conditions are met.

The 24-hour strike has been planned for March 7 - only three weeks after 25,000 government school counterparts stage a threatened statewide stopwork.

The Age reports the Catholic school teachers pay rises have been in line with the state schools since 1997.

Currently, they are locked in enterprise bargaining negotiations with their Church employers.

However, negotiations between the government and its teachers have stalled, with the Australian Education Union wanting a 10 per cent a year wage rise and the government offering 3.25 per cent.

Despite disruptions the planned strike will make, the Victorian Catholic School Parents Body says they will support their teachers as a "last resort" if the negotiations with the Melbourne archdiocese did not progress.

"We want Catholic schools to be able to attract the best possible staff, and we're very supportive of the need to ensure that teachers are properly remunerated," the group's head Dino Rebellato said.

But the Church has condemned the move saying talks of strike before negotiations were settled was "disappointing."

Victorian Catholic school teachers get between $46,127 and $65,414. Those in NSW get $50,522 to $75,352.

Class sizes tend to be larger in Catholic schools, and scheduled class times longer. Last year, average class sizes in public schools hit a record low of 20.7 students in prep to year 2 but in Catholic schools, classes have an average of 22.4 students.

Catholic teachers threaten walk-out (The Age 26/01/08)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Education Office Melbourne (CEOM)
Victorian Catholic School Parents Body

Catholic teachers join in pay case strike (CathNews 28/05/04)
Catholic teachers to stop work in some states (CathNews 17/09/03)

29 Jan 2008