Sub branch reports

Sub branch meetings are an opportunity for Chapter Reps and IEU members from each region to receive updates from union organisers. They’re also a way for reps and members to provide feedback to the union about what is happening on the ground in workplaces.

There are 19 geographical sub branches across NSW and the ACT, plus our Principals’ Sub Branch. Sub branches meet four times a year, usually in the first three or four weeks of each term. Each sub branch sends delegates to quarterly union Council meetings.

Council is the union’s decision-making body, bringing together more than 100 members from throughout NSW andthe ACT.

All Chapter Reps, and any IEU members who’d like to increase their union activism, are warmly invited to attend their sub branch meeting. Contact your Rep or your organiser if you’d like more information.

Cumberland Sub Branch

The Cumberland Sub Branch includes schools, colleges and early childhood centres in Parramatta, Mt Druitt, Castle Hill, Marsden Park, Blacktown and nearby suburbs.

Its AGM was well attended, and it was encouraging to welcome several new Reps to our first meeting of the year.

The meeting’s agenda was dominated by the impact of COVID and the safe return to schools. Reps in independent schools noted diverse and sometimes troubling approaches to flexible work arrangements and issues with transparency in dealing with COVID cases in their schools.

Put simply, workers have a right to a safe workplace and the employer has an obligation to provide it.

Therefore, Reps were encouraged to raise WHS concerns as they emerge. They were also advised to ensure that their workplace has a Health and Safety Rep (HSR) and, if not, to elect an HSR as soon as practicable to help ensure stronger WHS awareness and compliance.

The sub branch was also concerned with the proposed changes to workers compensation legislation relating to school staff who contract COVID.

Members welcomed the federal Department of Education, Skills and Employment Fact Sheet (see pages 9-12) that is now available to all schools across Australia, removing the superfluous layers often asked of staff in respect of the NCCD.

Congratulations to the following members who were elected unopposed to their respective positions:

President: Robert Paluzzano

Vice President: Anthony Leon Downs

Secretary: Tina Ruello

Committee Members: Grace Villarosa, Angela Rogers,Melinda Callaghan

Our next meeting is at 4.30pm on Monday 2 May at the IEU Parramatta Office in Ross St.

Lubna Haddad Organiser

Penrith/Blue Mountains Sub Branch

The Penrith Blue Mountains Sub Branch includes schools, colleges and early childhood centres from Penrith to Blackheath.

The Penrith/Blue Mountains Sub Branch AGM was held on Darug land by the Yandhai River (or Nepean River) at Penrith in February, with 14 attending.

The sub branch wishes to thank Veronica Yewdall, IEU Professional Officer, for addressing the meeting about the extension of the NESA accreditation deadline, IEU Behaviour Management PD, the IEU Zone PD platform, and the finalised NCCD Evidence Fact Sheet.

The agenda also covered the Catholic systemic schools enterprise agreement, Catholic independent schools enterprise agreements, a COVID update, and issues from schools present.

The sub branch election was held with the following IEU Representatives being elected with a diverse range of school sectors and stages being represented. Congratulations and thanks to the following:

President: Elizabeth Heggart from Penola Catholic College

Vice President: Natalie Maddock from Wycliff Christian School

Secretary: Margaret O’Donnell from CathWestInnovation College

Sub Branch Committee:

Janet Marie from Holy Family

Celia Carroll from Trinity Catholic School

Brett Wright from Wollemi College

Nicola Miller from Montgrove College

The IEU thanks the outgoing 2021 office holders for their commitment to the union.

President: Elizabeth Heggart, Penola Catholic College

Deputy President: Regina Bryan, St Monica’s Richmond

Secretary: Margaret O’Donnell, CathWest Innovation College

Committee members: Natalie Maddock, Nardin Hanna (formerly St Bishoy’s), Janet Marie Holy Family, Rachael Jones, Clare Laws(formerly Korowal)

Sub Branch meetings will resume (in person) at Nepean Rowers Club at 4.30pm on 18 May, 10 August and 9 November 2022 and 1 March 2023. All IEU Reps receive invitations ahead of each meeting. If the IEU Rep cannot attend another IEU member is most welcome to represent members from your workplace.

Ann-Maree McEwan Organiser

South East Sub Branch

The South East Sub Branch takes in schools, colleges and early childhood centres in on the south coast of NSW, including Bega, Cooma, Milton, Ulladulla and Pambula.

As President of the South East Sub Branch, I thank in particular our reps who have done exceptionally well in communicating and helping our teachers during the last year.

When I contemplate how our teachers have adjusted to the ever-changing landscape of schools, to continue to provide the very best in education, I am in awe of the energy and commitment shown.

We belong to an amazing profession!

As we face yet another pandemic year, with challenges of staff shortages, more COVID, RATS, PCR testing and the stress of absences of both staff and students, I am so thankful to know that the IEU is an ever-present support and backbone. Who would have thought that having RATS in your house would be a welcome gift!

At our AGM in February 2022, we were honoured to have President Chris Wilkinson, John O’Neill from the Executive and IEU Organiser Anthony Telford from the ACT office attend. We also had the privilege of Professional Officer Veronica Yewdall from the IEU Sydney office speak about the IEU wins around NCCD (see pages 9-12) and the new requirements for submitting teacher accreditation to NESA. This was immensely informative and valuable.

In our sub branch elections, the president, deputy president and committee members were returned to office for 2022 with an addition of Jennie Marsh as the new secretary.

Discussion at the meeting covered the upcoming enterprise bargaining in Catholic systemic schools and issues around COVID.

We thank the IEU for their work in running Behaviour Management courses. They are fully booked and very much appreciated by members.

An IEU Women’s Dinner in Canberra and election of Council Delegates were highlighted as upcoming events.

Beth Worthy President

Monaro Sub Branch

The Monaro Sub Branch covers the ACT.

We welcomed IEU Professional Officer Veronica Yewdall who gave an update on the NCCD workload breakthrough and spoke about the Fact Sheet which will be a useful tool for schools and school staff. Thank you to Veronica.

Regarding the enterprise bargaining in Catholic systemic schools, there was a broad outline of claims; significant pay increases are being sought for teachers and support staff. Support staff membership is relatively low, and Reps were asked to let staff in their schools know what is to be gained by joining the IEU.

ACT Catholic independent schools agreement has been voted up and has been approved by the Fair Work Commission. Schools have implemented pay rises.

AIS Multi-Enterprise Agreements: The agreement was voted up in all ACT schools. The Orana School is now on the Independent Schools NSW Teachers (Hybrid Model) MEA. Negotiations about pay are ongoing.

COVID: A number of issues and queries were raised:

mask wearing and the difficulty of teaching with them on and the problem of keeping them on students

front office staff enduring increased workloads

doubling up of classes when relief staff could not be engaged

extra duties due to cohorting

the expectation to provide work for students at home

workers compensation claims if teachers caught the virusat school.

IEU PD Program for Term 1: Behaviour Management courses currently available have all been TQI registered.

Important event: An IEU Women’s Dinner will be held on 7 April (the last Thursday of Term 1) at the CIT in Canberra. Students enrolled in courses at the CIT are involved in all aspects of catering and hospitality. The format will be afternoon tea, pre-dinner speakers Skye Saunders and Peta Spender (from the ANU Law Faculty), dinner followed by IEU Acting Secretary Carol Matthews. The theme of the event is Changing the Climate.

President: Dianne Lefebvre

Vice-President: Bernadette Bradley

Secretary: Angela McDonald

Committee members: Alex Thompson, Eugene Lehmensich, Judy Elliott, Beulah Jud-Brettingham

Dianne Lefebvre Monaro Branch President

Central Metropolitan Sub Branch

The Central Metropolitan Sub Branch takes in schools, colleges and early childhood centres in central Sydney, the inner west and suburbs including Rhodes, Concord and Meadowbank.

Its most recent meeting was dominated by the return to school in the COVID era.

Teacher shortages are a huge concern, with schools in the inner west impacted as COVID isolation rules and teacher shortages cause a scramble to source available casuals.

Support staff who are qualified teachers are being taken from their work to cover classes.

Teachers who have returned on flexible work arrangements are picking up extra days to cover COVID shortages and in larger primary schools everyone is prepared for split classes.

‘Hybrid’ learning expectations raise the question of how much was too much. While most schools require students to access regular online learning platforms and catch up as usual when they return to class, others are expecting teachers to present a full Zoom lesson as well as sending additional information to parents.

Concern was raised that a hybrid model will be seen as the ‘new normal’ and students will choose to stay away from face-to-face learning.

Upcoming IEU Council (see page 5) and Executive elections were also a talking point, with participants discussing opportunities to improve representation of Central Metropolitan members at this level.

Donna Widdison Organiser

North West Sub Branch

The North West Sub Branch includes schools, colleges and early childhood centres in Tamworth, Armidale and throughout the New England area.

Swimming carnivals, staff meetings, COVID and, I suspect, Zoom fatigue saw a smaller turnout than usual at our AGM.

Nevertheless, we managed to elect a new executive and I would like to congratulate the following members on their election:

President: Libby Lockwood

Vice President: Denise McHugh

Secretary: Fiona O’Neill

Committee members: Kate Clynch; Dale Cain; Raelene Maxworthy; (1 vacancy)

The following two motions were passed by the sub branch:

– The North West Sub Branch congratulates the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association for their industrial action on 15 February. Nurse-patient ratios are critically important as is the abolition of the state wages cap. That the state government keeps telling the media that the hospital system is coping, the brave action of the members of the NSW NMA exposed these statements as bald-faced lies.

– The North West Sub Branch thanks Helen Templeton for her services as President in recent years. Sub Branch also congratulates Alex Wharton on his appointment as Principal of Carinya Christian school, Gunnedah campus, and acknowledges his contributions to the North West Sub Branch. We are sure that Helen will enrich the Central Met Sub Branch and Alex will do the same in the Principals’ Sub Branch.

To all Reps and activists in the North West, please add the following meeting dates to your diaries and calendars. Meetings commence at 5.30pm.

Term 2: 20 May 2022 Armidale Bowling Club

Term 3: 29 July 2022 Tamworth Hotel

Term 4: 11 November 2022 Armidale Bowling Club

AGM 2023: 17 February 2023 Armidale Bowling Club

David Towson Organiser

Metropolitan East Sub Branch

The Metropolitan East Sub Branch takes in schools, colleges and early childhood centres in the eastern suburbs of Sydney.

The Metropolitan East Sub Branch met via Zoom in February. Shelly Hopper was elected President for 2022 with Shannon Warne elected Vice President. Secretary is Jenny Muscat with David Parnell and Gary Osborne making up committee members. Congratulations and thanks to all these active IEU Representatives. The Met-East Sub Branch was also pleased to welcome IEU President Chris Wilkinson to the meeting.

We covered the Catholic systemic enterprise agreement (EA) campaign, the Catholic independent EA campaigns and the AIS update. An IEU COVID response update was also given.

Some issues surrounding Workplace Practices Agreements in Catholic systemic schools were discussed, mainly around meeting times, workloads and duties.

Some issues, such as teacher shortages, dual modes of learning, hours of face-to-face teaching, online PD requirements, increasing numbers of parent-teacher nights and the process around personal leave are still coming up in the Metropolitan East region.

Even something as simple as a mandated 30-minute uninterrupted lunch is still a problem at some schools.

David Whitcombe Organiser

Take notice! Is your union noticeboard up to date?

Here are some great examples: from top, St Joachim's Catholic Primary School Lidcombe; Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School Pymble; Prouille Catholic Primary School, Wahroonga

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