Increasing density is our way forward

The power of the IEU collective, the strength in unity, brings about change.

Wonderful news for school support staff! During June we had 59 new members join. This is amazing and a testament to our school reps and support staff who have encouraged colleagues to join.

The more school support staff who join the IEU, the better our outcomes for fairer, just wages and better conditions. We need numbers to have clout in negotiations. Individually we can be powerless or voiceless in fighting for our rights. However, the power of the IEU collective, the strength in unity, brings about change.

Our union is currently working on many awards and enterprise agreements. However, for their success, we need to stand up and be counted. With many more members to we will be in an even stronger position. These awards and agreements benefit us, so we need to spread the word and encourage fellow support staff officers to join and fight for our rights.

We should never be afraid to flex our muscle. If need be, we may have to consider work to rule or even take strike action. Our employers will never automatically agree to our requests. They always devalue our contributions and slink away from justice in wages.Therefore, we need to fight for our rights.We need better, safer, fairer, more inclusive workplaces. The very workplaces that we make so amazing through our contributions; yet our contributions are not always recognised, appreciated or most specifically, valued.

As of 8 June, the Catholic Commission for Employment Relations has agreed to back pay the 2.5% wage increase due 1 January 2020 for Catholic systemic schools. This was long overdue but will they incorporate the interest accrued since January? No they won’t, however, a great amount of it will go in tax – hopefully, most employers will release this money immediately.

The IEU continues to meet with Catholic Independent schools and has recently received a draft enterprise agreement from their representative. Ideally, after they meet on 15 July, a more agreeable Multi-Enterprise Agreement (MEA) will be the outcome.

The Association of Independent Schools has finalised a new MEA to apply to support staff in nine NSW Christian schools. It is hoped that a ‘yes’ vote in June to early July will be achieved before the MEA is lodged with the Fair Work Commission.

The IEU has been informed by the Assocation of Independent Schools that bargaining for teachers and school support staff will not commence until mid to late August. The AIS says the uncertainty about the impact of COVID on the collection of school fees in some schools and recent changes in federal funding have contributed to the delay.

Stay safe, stay involved, and stay committed.

Carolyn Collins
Vice President Support Staff