Indian leader and anti-colonial activist Mahatma Gandhi said: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” This is exactly what school support staff employed in Catholic systemic schools are working towards. Late last year school support staff in the NSW government school sector achieved significant increases to wage rates and changes to the award – and we should have parity.
During August, IEU Industrial Officer Carolyn Moore organised six Zoom meetings for school support staff who are classified as: general clerical and administrative; learning support assistants; senior clerical and finance; specialist school assistants; Aboriginal education workers; and special education assistants.
The aim of these meetings was to inform support staff of the formation of a joint IEU/Catholic Commission for Employment Relations (CCER) Working Party, which will review and assess classifications and wage rates.
These meetings afforded support staff the opportunity to contribute to discussions in the lead up to the establishment of the working party. We need to get behind this. It is for us! We encourage you to become involved by completing surveys and keeping a journal of your activities. It is imperative that you and your colleagues do this, for it is our future.
Please encourage your colleagues to join the union. We need numbers to give strength to our voice. Become an advocate for the union within your workplace. Encourage non-members to join. This is their future, too.
A huge thanks to our brains trust Carolyn Moore and Industrial Officer Iain Bailey, for explaining how we work through this process.
Special thanks also to Cassie Barnes and Lubna Haddad for organising and contributing to these meetings. Thanks also to the IEU staff who also took time out to be a part of these meetings.
Don’t despair if you are not employed in a Catholic systemic school. I urge you to watch this space: positive outcomes from this representation will have a much broader impact than just for Catholic systemic schools.