COVID-19: Latest news from your union

Following a chaotic weekend of contradictory statements and reversals of positions by state and federal government leaders, the IEUA convened a federal meeting on Monday 23 March to formulate a federal position regarding school closures.

IEUA NSW/ACT believes the NSW Premier’s press conference statements regarding the proposed arrangements for schools and early learning centres in the coming days, do not adequately address the health and safety concerns of the teachers and support staff working with large numbers of students in schools and children in early learning centres.

The IEU also calls upon non government school employers to immediately clarify their position in light of the Premier’s statements this morning.

IEUA federal position reads:

IEUA calls for immediate nationwide end of term for all school students.

The IEUA’s primary concern is that schools cannot meet either their legislative Work, Health and Safety obligations or their duty of care to both their employees and students.

Accordingly, the IEUA calls for an immediate nationwide end of term for all school students.

Employees with underlying health conditions, those who are pregnant and those who provide care for elderly relatives within their own household should, with immediate effect, be permitted to work from home or granted ex-gratia leave.

There must also be an orderly transition to emergency schooling arrangements, including support and protocols for online/remote learning. There needs to be urgent discussions between government, employers and the unions about the provision of emergency schooling arrangements for children of essential services personnel, including the terms of engagement for volunteer staff and a safe workplace environment.

Staff working in remote schools must be provided with immediate travel arrangements to their home or home state, especially in light of emerging border arrangements.

It’s time to call time on term one now.

The IEUA NSW/ACT Branch continues to represent the interest of teachers in early learning centres and has called for crisis discussions with major non government employers. In early learning, the ability to work maintaining recommended health and safety guidelines is overwhelmingly challenging and puts all at risk.