This year will be historic for Catholic systemic school support staff and will set the foundations for future enterprise agreements within other sectors.
A call to action: Hear Our Voice
The majority of those employed in support staff positions are female. We need our employers to hear our voice! However, there is reluctance among school support staff to voice discontent.
This is understandable when our employment is precarious to say the least, with short-term contracts, a heavy reliance on funding and limited hours for a viable, living wage.
If our employment becomes precarious because we use our democratic voice, then why work for such an employer? Many of us work within religious schools and to deny us a fair and equitable wage is going against the ethos of our beliefs. However, now is the most pressing time to have our voices heard.
I have been a union member since 1992 and there has never been a more important time for us to be heard. For us to be true to our roles in schools, we need to fight for that recognition. Sadly, this is a fact. It is our fight! We cannot expect teachers to stand up for us if we are unwilling to stand up for ourselves. We want teachers to stand alongside us. We need to be the face of our fight.
It is imperative for school support staff to join the union. There is power in numbers. The weight of change cannot be left with just a few.
Support staff union members are strong and committed, but we are so very few. For without all of us, we cannot possibly persuade our employers to give us fair and comparable pay to that of our brothers and sisters in the state system.
Members out there, please get your school support staff to join the union and fight the good, just fight. Without numbers we are doomed to failure. Our employers will use our lack of numbers and voice to deny us justice.
School support officers are an integral part of the school community, and we receive lovely platitudes, but without the benefits that should accompany such words and gestures.
Success with the new rounds of the Catholic systemic enterprise agreement for parity with our state counterparts, should equate to increased wages and benefits in other sectors, as mentioned before. This is a one-off chance to get the ball rolling for benefits now and into the future. #HearOurVoice