Catholic school teachers strike for the first time in 18 years

Thousands of Catholic school teachers have walked off the job for the first time in almost 20 years over these problems.

Thousands of Catholic school teachers are on strike Friday as they join their public sector colleagues in calling for better pay and working conditions, the first such strike in nearly 20 years.

Around 18,000 teachers from 540 Catholic schools in NSW and the ACT are expected to walk off the job in cities across the state.

It comes just weeks after public school teachers took to the streets with the same demands.

The Sydney teachers began their march in the Sydney CBD at around 10am and made their way to City Hall.

The Independent Education Union (IEU) is calling for a wage increase of at least 10 per cent and a “cutting (of) paperwork” which contributes to a significant amount of overtime.

Catholic teachers have not held a full day’s strike since 2004.

“Teachers and support staff are burned out and exhausted,” said IEU Secretary Mark Northam.

“Uncompetitive salaries, unsustainable workloads and crippling staff shortages have pushed them beyond their limits.”

The union has been negotiating with Catholic Labor Relations (CER) for a new business agreement since January.

Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet has promised to address the public sector wage cap in the next NSW government budget to be announced in June.

Catholic employers are not restricted by the NSW government’s 2.5 per cent cap on public school teachers’ salaries, but they often “follow the example”.

The union has threatened more labor action if there is no improved offer after Friday.

Strikes are taking place across the state of NSW in Dubbo, Canberra, Port Macquarie, Wagga, Wagga, Tamworth, Bathurst, Newcastle and Lennox Head.

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