Past and future in one room

The centenary of the general strike was celebrated at IEU’s third Council meeting for 2017 held on 19 August.

The general strike went for about six weeks from August to September 1917, during World War I.

It was sparked when railway workers were asked to fill out time cards, but spread to other industries.

Unions NSW provided a display of banners to IEU Council that was appreciated by those at the Mercure Sydney meeting.

Council covered a wide range of issues of concern to all members, be it the current Catholic campaign, equal pay for early childhood teachers, the support staff conference, issues in Christian schools and many others.

I think I’m the succession plan for Union representation.

Future planning

The future of the IEU was represented in first time attendees at Council. Caitlyn Jubb (pictured top left) of St Francis De Sales College Leeton is only two years into her teaching career but has already expressed an interest in taking up the rep’s role.

“I think I’m the succession plan for Union representation at St Francis,” Caitlyn said, laughing.

Having attended two Riverina Sub Branch meetings, Caitlyn said she enjoyed finding out about the big picture issues affecting teachers’ day to day work.

“I enjoy being involved in the policy and future direction of education, and the Union is part of all that. I think you might see back here again in the future, I’m interested in putting my hand up.”

Learning more

Not new to teaching, but new to the IEU, Aspect Riverina Principal Jo Gillespie (pictured middle left) has previously taught in state schools in Queensland and Victoria.

“I like how the IEU includes both support staff and teachers. I think it’s great that we all have the same opportunities,” Jo said.

Jo has always been active in unions and came to her first Council to learn more about how the IEU operates.

She has a Masters in Special Education and has taught everyone from babies to men in their 60s.


The general strike banners struck a chord for long time IEU Rep and North West Branch Councillor Fiona O’Neill. She was inspired to become a union activist by her father, a train driver, who she remembers went on strike when she was a child.

Now 78, he still works as a full time train driver.

The North West Sub Branch recently wrote a letter to the Catholic Schools Office in Armidale to express their “dismay” at the Road to Resolution document distributed by the diocese to staff.

The document implied staff would only keep their right to an independent industrial umpire if the “parties consent”.

The McCarthy Catholic College Tamworth teacher was surprised to receive a ‘Dear Fiona’ letter in response. The chapter as a whole felt empowered by the letter, she said.

“The issue is promoting a lot of discussion about arbitration among the staff and people’s understanding of the issue is growing, and they are starting to feel cheated,” Fiona said.