A caring and non confrontational man, Jeremy Arthur was initially apprehensive when “tapped on the shoulder” to take up the IEU rep’s role at William Clarke College, Kellyville.
“I had the feeling a union rep was somebody really tough and staunch and all about fighting,” Jeremy said.
“But I spent some time speaking to other staff members and the school chaplain, and discovered the union rep could be a caring, loving member of staff who supports others.”
The PDHPE teacher was particularly swayed by the advice of his chaplain, who encouraged him to become rep, and his father, a former rep for HESTA at Westmead Hospital.
Jeremy has been rep at William Clarke College for about 18 months, and said he will keep the role for as long as he’s wanted.
He’s been at the college about eight years, having worked part time initially before landing a full time permanent role.
He came to the school after two years teaching in London and some casual work at Rouse Hill Anglican College.
He’s experienced some of the difficulties young teachers face finding a permanent role.
When his head of faculty decided to step down as IEU rep, Jeremy was his first pick.
“I’m a laid back, gentle person. I try to find common ground and listen to both sides of the story.
“I’m a Christian, and it fits well with my sense of love, kindness and understanding.
“The support of my Union organisers has been great, and the advice they have given me is ‘don’t try and change, find your own way of doing things’.
“I appreciate that the organisers have always been honest with me.”
With three girls of his own aged under four, Jeremy hasn’t been able to make it to any rep’s training days or other Union events or training, but he’s happy with the support he receives.
“I see being rep as a wellbeing role. If a staff member is unhappy then I try and find out what the issue is and nut it out, so they can be comfortable and happy at work.
“The staff have been appreciative of what I do. I’m not sure if they would want me to be stronger, but as advised, I try and do things my way, and find a resolution that keeps both sides happy.”
Jeremy’s tips to anyone contemplating a rep’s role: listen carefully with an open mind, and read up on agreements.
“If you go into a meeting with the knowledge, it really helps you have a position,” he said.
The mediation skills he is developing as a rep will help him in all walks of life, Jeremy said.