The employers’ action was met with a concerted show of opposition by members, particularly characterised by their response on social media.
If the EA was approved, teachers and support staff would not be guaranteed access to an independent umpire in order to resolve a dispute. This move by employers was an attack on the fundamental rights of their employees.
As part of their strategy to counteract the employer’s action, the Union launched a significant social media campaign to help prevent this cynical agreement becoming a reality.
This proposed enterprise agreement was affecting 11 dioceses across NSW and ACT – a lot of land to cover. Social media meant that members everywhere could actively have a voice in the campaign and receive instant updates from their Union.
It also gave them a chance to feel solidarity with members in other dioceses and take inspiration from their actions posted online.
Members want to know what their Union is doing for them. Harnessing social media meant the Union could respond immediately to any members who became articulate on the issue of arbitration.
Real time action
Through a series of Facebook Live videos, IEUA NSW/ACT updated members with the latest developments, answered questions in a series of Live Q&A sessions and broadcast live footage of stop work meetings.
It was difficult to run these events at times which suited all teachers and support staff, so officers collected questions from members beforehand and all the videos were uploaded to Facebook and YouTube afterwards so they could be re-watched anytime by anyone. These videos garnered thousands of individual views throughout the campaign, with a peak viewing rate of over 9000 for just one video. The overall Facebook page reach also increased dramatically – with a peak weekly page reach of 32,000!