Union snaps

'My most important bit of advice is join the union'

In early December 2021, the IEU presented Karen Richardson with a compendium in appreciation of her 40 years in the union. Karen taught at Wenona School in North Sydney for all but the first year of her career.

Karen (pictured, left) has a standout memory of joining Wenona. “Someone who recommended the job to me said, ‘my most important bit of advice is join the union’,” she said.

“And I think that is fantastic advice because I’ve had two lots of maternity leave, and neither were paid. Paid maternity leave is just one of the advances the union has fought for. I think it’s just amazing.”

Professional Officer Veronica Yewdall (pictured, right) said the union could only take up and win this battle because of people such as Karen who join the union and stay. “It’s incredibly important work, and we couldn’t do it otherwise,” she said.

Another perennial issue is workload. “We’ve been talking about workload for so long and [employers] just consistently refused to do anything. It doesn’t get any easier. All the paperwork – it’s enormous.”

She noted the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data (NCCD) in particular. “The documentation that goes with registers and programs and adjustments is big. And it’s all linked to funding – if we don’t have this enormous amount of detail, we’d lose our funding.”

The union has had a breakthrough on this front too, having negotiated revised requirements with the Federal Department of Education, Skills and Employment [see page 9].

“We hope we’ll be able to transfer that to other workload issues that have run rampant for the last few years,” Veronica said.

Karen said she always read the union’s publications and would leave items lying around for non-union staff to see.

“We want what’s good for education and for each other,” she said.

IEU always there

William Norton of Oakhill College Castle Hill was presented with his 40 years compendium recently by IEU Organiser Jeff Pratt.

“I began teaching at the beginning of 1979 at De La Salle College Ashfield,” William said.

“I joined the union in April that year. After seven great years at Ashfield, I moved to Oakhill College Castle Hill. Oakhill is where I have grown as a teacher.

“There have been so many changes in education over my career, but the IEU has always been there for support. I would like to thank IEU Assistant Secretary Pam Smith for her help and advice over the years.

“I believe to succeed in teaching you need to adapt and change when the need is required. Also, a sense of humour goes far. A love for teaching and seeing students grow as young men and women is indeed rewarding.”

Anna O’Dwyer from Lismore Catholic Schools Office receives her 30-year IEU membership badge

Anne Dempsey of St Michael’s Nowra receives her 40-year membership compendium

Mark Hornby-Howell of St Benedict’s Primary School Edgeworth receives his 40- year membership compendium from IEU Assistant Secretary Pam Smith

Solidarity and comradeship

Laurence Mockler was presented with his 40-year compendium by IEU Organiser Jeff Pratt.

“When I started my career as a primary school teacher after my first job appointment back in 1977, I realised after a year’s teaching that it would be most beneficial to join the union," Laurence said.

“The solidarity and comradeship offered to me, along with professional support over these past four decades has been well worth the financial cost.

“Every pay rise, every position, every leave loading, every classification for a pay rise, every day off for moving, sickness, bereavement, maternity, paternity leave has been achieved by the IEU. None of these has been accomplished by the employer ‘giving’ you, the employee, anything!

“In fact, over the last few years employers have continually asked for more ‘flexibility’ and saying there was little if any need for limiting numbers in classes.

“I ask all union members to be vigilant when the employer asks to change any of the agreed structures at the coalface especially in relation to RFF or even changing the name of a senior executive positions from coordinators, especially in the name of flexibility! Despite protesting ‘it’s not the money’ it is, and it always will be.”

IEU Organiser Lubna Haddad, left, presents Patricia Finlay of Our Lady of the Rosary Fairfield with her 40-year membership compendium

Therese Seymour, Principal of St Joseph’s Primary School Alstonville, right, receives her 40-year membership compendium from Rep Jenna Gauci

Ross Wilson, 2nd from left, formerly of St Paul’s High School Booragul, receives his 40-year membership compendium at Friday Sports for the Old Retired Teachers Society

Timothy Austin and Roberta Goehner of Patrician Brothers Fairfield receive 40-year compendiums from Organiser Lubna Haddad

IEU Rep Michael Namrell, left, presents Peter Bonomini of St Mary’s Catholic College Casino with his 40-year membership compendium

Wendy Grima of Christ the King Primary School North Rocks, right, receives her 40-year compendium from IEU Organiser Lubna Haddad.

Wendy says a key union achievement during her time as a member is RFF as there was none when she started, and she believes collaboration between support staff and teachers always produces better outcomes. Wendy joined the IEU 40 years ago because a friend asked her to, just as the IEU urges you to invite your friends and colleagues to join. Wendy added that the union is always there no matter what question you may have about your employment