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Members’ heartfelt posts

IEU members are a vocal and passionate bunch. We are proud to consist of a group of impassioned, eloquent and informed individuals, and the comments sections on our Facebook page can be a great resource for insights, advocacy and heartfelt discussion of the issues dominating our newsfeeds.

Wage theft

Dominating the headlines in recent months has been the ongoing flood of wage theft allegations and admissions. Our members have been expressing their disdain for the excuses offered up by the major employers who have been found guilty of systematically underpaying their employees. One pointed out the hypocrisy of the double standards applied to individuals compared to corporations, remarking “If an employee is caught with their hand in the till, they’d not only be sacked, the cops would be called.” Subsequent commenters were in vigorous agreement, decrying the situation as “Disgraceful!” Unfortunately, there did not appear to be much trust in the proposed remedies of the federal government, with a frustrated commenter fuming “Of course he does!” in response to reports that Scott Morrison intends to give amnesty (and a resulting tax advantage) to bosses who admit to having stolen their workers’ superannuation.

Teacher workload

Elsewhere in the news, with the commencement of Term 1 of 2020 there was the usual flood of education related stories, lambasting the apparently deteriorating standards of student academic achievement. As everyone in the education profession knows, the reason for this apparent decline is far less to do with the quality of the teachers in classrooms, and far more to do with the quality of time that the teachers are granted to do their core work of teaching. The NSW Teachers Federation announced in the start of February that they were commencing a 12 month inquiry into teacher work pressures, headed up by former West Australian premier Geoff Gallop, holding public hearings across the state, collecting submissions from teachers and principals and examining policies and reforms imposed on the sector since 2004. There was broad enthusiasm for this announcement, with suggestions and insights filling our comments sections. One member identified face to face teaching time as a key pressure for teachers, recommending it “needs to be reduced by at least 20% to account for the huge increase in administration and compliance requirements”. Others were more cautiously optimistic, warning that Gallop “won’t understand until he’s been in the role for a few years”.

Bathurst Diocese’s disappointing start

The IEU’s ongoing negotiations with Catholic systemic schools hit newspapers in NSW’s central west at the start of March, as we expressed frustration with Bathurst Diocese’s reticence to meet with us at the bargaining table and progress negotiations. A former employee of Bathurst CE described the situation as “extremely disappointing to hear. I hope things change quickly for the better.” Others echoed this sentiment and expressed solidarity with the teachers and support staff caught up in this unfortunate tactic and ongoing dispute. One member commented that “most support staff I know do so much more than they are paid for. Most do hours and hours of unpaid overtime because it will help the students in their care. Wouldn’t it be nice if our employer had that attitude towards their staff”, with another adding “This is very disappointing to hear that the employer will not talk. The teachers and support staff do an awesome job, many go above an beyond to assist students… I sincerely hope that their conditions are improved, workload issues are addressed and they get at the very least 2.5% pay rise. In solidarity comrades.”

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Angus Hoy