Unions NSW and all affiliates support IEU staff in Catholic systemic schools
On Thursday 27 July, IEU informed Mark Morey, Secretary of Unions NSW of the dispute between the IEU and Catholic employers throughout NSW and the ACT.
IEU Secretary John Quessy wrote that at the heart of the dispute was that Catholic employers were refusing access to arbitration by the Fair Work Commission, without the consent of both parties. This contradicts their previous confirmation that, while IEU members were within the NSW IR jurisdiction, access to arbitration was available.
IEU seldom utilises arbitration when dealing with Catholic employers as matters are generally conciliated successfully through mediation and because the prospect of arbitration encourages settlement. With almost every other issue settled in the current enterprise agreement, this intransigence has delayed the finalisation of the EA.
Overwhelming support for IEU
In writing on this critical matter, Quessy was seeking the support of Unions NSW and affiliates in taking action to resolve this dispute. At the meeting of Unions NSW and affiliated unions the night of 27 July, IEUA NSW /ACT Branch and its members in Catholic systemic schools, were given overwhelming support through this resolution:
“That the correspondence be received and Unions NSW condemns the position taken by the employers in Catholic education not to consent to a dispute being resolved by arbitration. Further, Unions NSW calls upon the employer parties to see common sense and agree to a new enterprise agreement that respects the role of the Fair Work Commission as an arbiter of disputes as referred by either party”.
IEU Assistant Secretary Mark Northam addressed the meeting of unions and said: "IEU values the support of Unions NSW and affiliates. This dispute concerns 18,000 members against 11 Catholic employers. It is the result of enterprise agreement negotiations and a refusal by the employers to agree to compulsory arbitration in the Fair Work Commission. As a result of this decision the Union has applied to the FWC for a Protected Action Ballot and will commence industrial action to force the employers to see sense."
Read full letter to Unions NSW here.