Letters to the editor

Dear IEU

Not just a teacher Union

I was reading a few documents and emails and in the space of one day the IEU was twice grouped into being described as one of the ‘teacher unions’. Clearly this is not correct. We need to be careful with such inaccurate use of language and correct it promptly.

The use of language is significant in shaping thoughts, ideas and power. We know this from gender bias in language; language that is not LGBTQI inclusive or language that is not reflective of the racial, religious and cultural diversity in our society or Union causes numbers of people to be not seen, heard or reflected in the dialogue, communication or media. The use of language can promote or reinforce power imbalance.

This happens too often with regard to our Union’s support and operational staff and non teacher members. Let’s face it. We tend to default to a teacher focus much of the time.

So let’s be mindful that the IEU is not just a teacher union. We are much more than that. The IEU is an education union. Our Union’s coverage includes many professionals employed in the non government education sector who are not teachers. This includes a myriad of essential roles: clerical and administration staff, communications roles, archivists, classroom learning support officers, grounds and maintenance staff, IT managers and technicians, bursars, boarding staff, Indigenous education workers, counsellors, canteen staff, library assistants, laboratory assistants, music instructors and education head office employees, to name just a few.

This is why we are called the Independent Education Union and not the Independent Teachers Union, as once we were. Be proud and aware of who we are.

Ann-Maree McEwan

IEU Organiser

Message for IEU members for Monday 4 December 2017

Dear IEU members, I wish I could be there with you today.

The fact you are needing to take action for a second time to protect your rights at work and defend your right to arbitration shows just how broken our rights at work are. It is just wrong that we should need to fight for the right to have access to justice, to an independent umpire to enforce our rights. All workers should have this basic right and the fact your employer thinks they can take this off you is outrageous.

Your cause is just. Your demand is fair and so important to fight for.

For over 12 months you have bargained in good faith and now the Catholic dioceses have tried to ignore your voice and they have tried to go around your collective representation but you have stood firm.

The entire Australian trade union movement stands with you in rejecting this attempt to wind back your working conditions and undermine your rights.

Your IEU representatives are working hard to get you better conditions but it is your collective commitment, demonstrated here today, that is the power which will resolve this dispute. And resolve it in your favour!

Together, in union, we have the power to change the rules, to improve our conditions and resist the power of those who would take away our rights.

Congratulations on your action. Congratulations on standing together. Solidarity to you all.

Sally McManus

ACTU Secretary

Thirty-year badge recipient writes:

Dear IEU

Thank you for the kind words of appreciation and I will indeed value this medal commemorating my 30 plus years of service associated with the Union, whilst teaching in the independent sector of secondary schooling in NSW. At the end of 2016 I resigned my membership of the IEU when I relocated to Queensland.

My teaching in the NSW independent schools sector was rewarding in many ways, but specifically in that the IEU support and professional recognition offered ensured that my service was accorded appropriate recognition and that my skills were valued.


Sheilah Jackson