WA visit reaps mutual benefits

The federal IEUA is made up of state branches which support and cooperate with each other.

In September, NSW/ACT IEU Organiser Kendall Warren visited Western Australia to work with colleagues in that branch, with a focus on developing a larger presence in the post-secondary college sector.

As soon as he arrived in WA, Kendall dropped into the IEU office at Rivervale to meet Branch Secretary Rebecca Collopy and Lead Organiser Sonia Gurrin and their friendly and hard-working team.

The WA Branch is much smaller than the Victoria/Tasmania, Queensland and NSW/ACT branches, with around 4000 members, compared to NSW/ACT’s 32,000 for example, but it punches above its weight.

Kendall conducted a short training session for the organising team, running through the peculiarities of the sector, focusing on the for-profit nature of the industry, and its volatility and insecure work patterns. He also ran through the award and the most relevant provisions.

He also provided training on how the union might best position itself in the sector, to increase membership and become a significant stakeholder.

At Lexis English, an ELICOS college near the beach in Scarborough, Kendall and some WA organisers met with teachers in their staffroom and discussed the value of union membership.

Later in the week, they visited Navitas English in Northbridge, Kingston International College in Highgate, and various campuses of Stanley College, a large VET institution with centres in Northbridge, West Perth and Mirrabooka.

These various schools were a good cross-section of Perth, from the beachside suburbs like Scarborough, through upmarket inner-city Northbridge, to the more suburban Mirrabooka.

“It was a worthwhile trip for myself and the WA branch. I hope they got a lot of take-aways from it, and I certainly got some tips to bring back to NSW and the ACT,” Kendall said.

“Co-operation is at the heart of unionism, and this particular exercise was beneficial all round,” he said.