On message at Broken Hill

Leanne Tracey and IEU members at the Sacred Heart Primary School were delighted to see Assistant Secretary Pam Smith recently - members in Broken Hill understand it’s quite a trek.

It’s a small school with just 112 students but IEU rep Leanne Tracey is proud to have 100% union membership – 10 teachers and eight support staff.

“We’re kept well up to date on issues by our organiser Marilyn Jervis, and as the rep I keep our IEU notice board up to date with all the latest news. Some of the issues that are stressing our teacher members here at present is NESA accreditation and the problem of not being able to upload information about the courses we’ve completed.

“Wilcannia-Forbes CEO is now helping by keeping a record of all our courses, at least that’s some backup. We talked with Pam about this and our Work Practices Agreement, because of course, Wilcannia-Forbes Diocese has some unique challenges that affect each and every one of us. It was good to talk about these matters with Pam, and really good that our members could ask questions and discuss their concerns.”

Tracey spoke of the role of a rep in more remote communities. One of the big issues facing reps at present she thought was recruiting young teachers who didn’t necessarily have an understanding of the important role of unions and the need to be a union member once in the workforce.

“I think all teachers, both the new and experienced, are concerned about stress levels and the amount of work that is accumulating through paperwork and data collection. It’s important for them all to know that their Union is concerned and working on this as well. I make time to talk with teachers and support staff about their union membership and we’re very proud that at this time we have everyone in the IEU. It’s not always easy and young people don’t always respond positively but talking and explaining the issues is very important.”

Tracey said she thought the most important things to keep in mind as a rep so far from IEU offices was to “have good rapport with your organiser and good rapport with your staff”.

She said: “My message to teachers and support staff is always that our Union fights for your rights.”