Three new union organisers fresh from teaching and keento help their colleagues started working at the IEU in the new year.
Peter Criticos has a long association with the IEU, serving as a Rep, on IEU Council and on the Executive. He came to the attention of the IEU’s leadership as a Rep, achieving a density of 107 per cent union membership at his school, getting even casual teachers signed up.
He wants to continue in that vein as an organiser, creating strength through numbers in as many schools and centres as he can. His philosophy has evolved from the traditional days of strong union membership in the 1980s and 1970s, when his grandfather worked at BHP in Newcastle.
“Granddad hurt his back, and the union fought for his rights to make sure he got his workers comp,” Peter said.
“Grandad was a Greek migrant, and he was always a staunch unionist from the moment he came to Australia in 1958.”
His father lectures in business and is a loyal Labor supporter.
“The amalgam of staunch unionist and Labour supporter created Peter Criticos, the union organiser,” he said.
He started teaching in 2016 in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, as teacher, HSIE coordinator and learning support teacher.
Having had some bad times at school himself, a Greek boy growing up in Newcastle, he’s passionate about making sure every kid has an opportunity to grown and be themselves, and to never be discouraged by school.
Peter said years of Liberal rule had damaged the reputation of unions around Australia, and he’d like to play a role in rebuilding trust. Peter will be based at the union’s Parramatta office.