Researching your future wellbeing

The Term 4 IEU Principals Sub Branch met at the Union’s Parramatta office on 4 November, with input from Teachers Health on principals’ workloads and wellbeing.

IEU Deputy Secretary Gloria Taylor also addressed the meeting on the current industrial situation regarding the enterprise agreement (EA) negotiations for Catholic systemic teachers and support staff.

Rachel Hurst from Teachers Health reported on the ongoing research being undertaken by Professor Phil Riley from ACU and thanked principals for their participation in the annual wellbeing surveys.

At this stage, around 5000 of Australia’s 10,000 principals across sectors are engaging with the principals’ health and wellbeing research.

From both an industrial and professional perspective, data from the research helps to inform the IEU’s negotiations with employers, including information for future EAs for principals. Further information and access to previous reports are available at

In her address, Gloria thanked principals for their support during the current systemic EA dispute and highlighted the vital importance of access to arbitration without veto, including for principals.

While the wording of the arbitration clause has not changed, its interpretation by Catholic employers altered earlier this year, despite a clear written statement from the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (CCER) director to the IEU during the transition to the federal industrial relations system in 2010 that “the employers have agreed that disputes about the content of an agreement and or work practices agreement may be arbitrated by Fair Work Australia”.

Gloria referred to the success of the recent rallies and that re-ballots would be offered to members in some schools which faced technical difficulties in their original ballot process. The IEU would also urge a strong ‘no’ vote for any agreement which was not endorsed by the Union.

Principals Sub Branch meeting dates for 2018 are proposed for 10 February, 5 May, 4 August and 3 November.

The meeting closed with appreciation to Louise O’Sullivan from the Armidale Diocese for her contribution over many years to the Principals Sub Branch and as a delegate to IEU Council. (Louise is moving to a CSO role).

Sub Branch President Sidonie Coffey thanked all those present for their engagement and advocacy on behalf of principals and extended best wishes for the remainder of Term 4 and for the Christmas/January school vacation period.

Pam Smith
Principals Organiser