Catholic teachers' employer applies to stop industrial action

The union representing Canberra's Catholic school teachers has warned its members are "only more angry" after the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations applied to prevent them from taking industrial action.

The two parties are in a spat over how to best settle disputes. The Independent Education Union wants the Fair Work Commission to be able to make binding decisions when the two groups can't come to an agreement, but the employer representative body would rather stick to the current deal where Fair Work can only get involved when both parties agree to the intervention.

The Catholic Commission for Employment Relations this week lodged an objection to the union's application for protected industrial action.

Commission executive director Tony Farley questioned why the union objected to the dispute clause given it already applied in 450 independent schools.

He also pleaded with the union to back down, arguing industrial action couldn't come at a "worse time" as the system battled funding woes.

"The clause at the centre of the dispute is one that the union has previously agreed to with Catholic schools and allows the Fair Work Commission to arbitrate with both parties' consent," Mr Farley said.

"This is consistent with the Fair Work Act.

"At a time when Catholic schools and staff need the union's support, the union is unfairly attacking Catholic schools for something the union supports in private schools."

But Independent Education Union NSW/ACT secretary John Quessy labelled the commission "sooks" and said members were furious with it for trying to stop them taking action.

He dismissed the commission's funding argument, saying the dispute clause members sought wouldn't cost the commission any extra money.

On the agreement with private school,s Mr Quessy said: "This is a totally different set of circumstances - the agreement in independent schools applies to each school individually.

"We have members in those schools being paid well over $100,000 but they're trading that off against a whole range of unregulated conditions."

The Independent Education Union represents about 1500 teachers in the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, including in 29 ACT schools.

The two bodies have been negotiating for about eight months on a new enterprise agreement.

This story Catholic teachers' employer applies to stop industrial action first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.