Teachers take action to streets

CATHOLIC school teachers frustrated by pay conditions marched in Launceston streets yesterday in a four-hour strike action.

Up to 105 teachers from the seven Northern Catholic primary and high schools marched from Civic Square to the Albert Hall following a 17-month negotiating stalemate.

Tasmanian Catholic Education Office director Trish Hindmarsh said it would not change its position on pay and redundancy conditions following yesterday's strikes but was open to conversations with the union.

Independent Education Union spokeswoman Angela Briant said the strike action was about justice and fairness for teachers and teacher's aides.

``There are three main issues that haven't been resolved,'' Ms Briant said.

``We are happy to go to the negotiating table but we need employers to put a fair offer on the table.''

Teacher support staff are arguing for a secure 40 weeks of employment with two weeks' paid holiday, instead of the unsecure by-demand schedule, and that teachers' tutor and home room (parity) time should be included as part of the teaching component, as is the case in government schools.

Ms Briant said if the offers were refused there were other options for industrial action.

``We will think about that very carefully. This is the first time there has been strike action and these teachers did not take this action lightly, and they will not back away.''

Dr Hindmarsh said the Catholic school system did not have unlimited resources and had come to its final offer after 17 months of professional research and negotiation.

She said all schools disrupted by the action had remained open, with relief teachers brought in, despite some schools having a third of teachers on stoppage.

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