Each year the IEU is in the fortunate position to welcome new members as a fresh cohort of teachers enter the profession and support staff commence work in the non government education sector.
It is fair to say that 2020 has been an exceptional year with March being the single biggest growth month in the union’s history.
Just as people turned to the ABC as the nation’s most trusted news source when bushfires hit and again when the coronavirus pandemic shut down the country, so too did workers across the country join or rejoin trade unions in significant numbers. Our sister branches (Queensland and the Northern Territory; Victoria and Tasmania; South Australia; and Western Australia) also reported substantial increases in membership.
In February, March and April 2019, the IEU experienced its best recruitment figures in five years. During the same period in 2020, the number of members joining more than doubled that number, exceeding last year’s figures by 137 per cent.
Importantly, 30 per cent of these new members (almost 600 in total) are under 30 years of age; and almost 200 of these members are in their first year of teaching.
The IEU warmly welcomes all these members. As ever, we look forward to defending all our members’ rights and improving salaries and conditions within the profession.
These members have joined in a year when so many agreements are set to be negotiated, including agreements with the Association of Independent Schools, the Catholic Systemic Schools, Catholic Independent Schools and Christian Schools.
We encourage reps and experienced members not only to welcome the new members into their respective chapters, but also to explain the negotiation process and how the union collectively advocates on behalf of its members and the profession.
The union also welcomes more than 400 support staff who joined during this time. These members will strengthen our bargaining power as we progress campaigns to achieve pay parity with support staff in state schools and seek better conditions such as improved long service leave entitlements. These campaigns can only succeed with the support of a growing and engaged membership.
In the three months to May 2020, 100 early childhood teachers also joined our ranks. As we await the outcome of the IEU’s Equal Remuneration Case we also welcome these members.
Thank you to the reps and members who encouraged their colleagues to join their union when the pandemic hit our shores. Thank you in advance to all of our experienced members who will mentor the new members. Please contact the IEU office if we can be of any assistance in this process.