Secretary’s speech to Sydney rally

Excerpt from IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary Mark Northam’s speech to the Sydney rally at Town Hall on Friday 27 May.

"I acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation and pay my respects to Elders past and present.

We’re here today to make schoolsbetter. And we do that by paying teachers and support staff properly. We do itthrough sensible workloads and sufficient planning time.

It’s time to smash that miserly 2.5% NSW Government salary cap. Catholic school staff are governed by federal industrial relations laws, but we are still caught by the NSW salary cap. Catholic employers have long insisted that any pay rise will not be “a cent more, nor a day before” what the NSW Government offers to your state school colleagues.

We say all school staff should be paid more.

Our support staff deserve pay parity with their colleagues in government schools.

Staff shortages are crippling, and morale is low. School staff are exhausted. We know of teachers in hallways monitoring two classes at the same time. We know you are taking too many extras. We know there are not enough casuals, let alone permanent teachers.

University enrolments in teaching degrees have fallen, while school enrolments are rising. High school graduates do not see teaching as an attractive career. What’s gone so wrong? Politicians are not affording teachers and support staff professional respect.

But the union sees your hard work. We saw your work during the pandemic, during the bushfires, during the floods. We appreciate all you achieve – day in, day out, year in, year out.

The union gets it – we know your rents are up, interest rates are up, grocery prices are up, and fuel is still going up.

Change and repair starts here – it starts with us. It starts with a decent pay rise. That 2.5% salary cap must go.

We’ve seen our colleagues in government schools march. We congratulate them. Now it’s our turn to march for better salaries and conditions. It’s our turn to protect our profession. It’s our turn to say to Catholic employers and the NSW Government – you must do better."

It’s time to Hear Our Voice!