Making a stand for support staff

Two support staff members from the south coast have fronted TV cameras for the IEU’s Hear Our Voice campaign for better pay and conditions in Catholic systemic schools. Students Services Officer Lisa Soligo and Curriculum Support Officer Margaret Smith gave an interview to WIN News Illawarra on 8 November.

The report noted that support staff in Catholic systemic schools are earning 23% less than their counterparts in the government system. “It’s frustrating to earn less than those in the public system, particularly when we know we’re doing the same job,” Lisa said.

Margaret said: “It’s been going on for too long now and it has to come to an end”.

Lisa said, “We’re passionate about our jobs. We love the kids and working in an environment like this, but we want to be recognised for what we do”.

“People have left and gone on to bigger and better things where they have more respect,” Margaret said.

After the interview, Margaret said she had been “petrified” about going on TV, but she felt so strongly about the issue she had to take action. “You can’t sit back and let others do it, you have to stand up,” she said.

Support staff have been at the forefront of the Hear Our Voice campaign. “This is just as important to us as to the teachers, if not more so,” Margaret said. “We’ve got a lot to gain. We want to show our employers that we are not weak and we can stand up for ourselves.”

IEU Industrial Officer Carolyn Moore said some Catholic employers were “dragging their feet” and action was needed to ensure disparity did not become “entrenched”. Only the Broken Bay Diocese has agreed to pay parity with government schools, beginning next year.

Other support staff members have been waiting more than three years for a positive outcome to this dispute.

Watch the video:

Sue Osborne