Building Strength

Training for union reps

The IEU provides free training so reps can learn how best to support and strengthen their chapter. Big changes to the industrial landscape in the past 18 months mean reps have stronger rights and the voice of unions is once again being heard in decision-making forums across the nation.

The IEU has recently achieved strong bargaining successes in Catholic systemic schools and Catholic independent schools. We can build on these successes through strong chapters led by well-informed reps.

As we commence negotiations with the Association of Independent Schools (AIS) in the coming months, we’ll be working closely with our reps in these schools. See box below for how you can be part of it.

Reps – our most valuable resource

An active and informed IEU rep is one of the most powerful resources the union has in a school, college or early childhood education centre.

In our training, we provide an overview of the broader industrial framework, along with reps’ rights and responsibilities.

We talk about strategies for running a successful chapter, growing your chapter’s membership, and useful skills for supporting members in the workplace.

Do the new delegates rights apply to you?

The law makes crystal clear your right to discuss union business in your workplace.

An IEU member who is an elected chapter rep (according to IEU rules) is considered a delegate under the Fair Work Act. As a union delegate, a rep has specific rights to represent members.

What rights do delegates have?

Paid union training time: Reps are entitled to reasonable paid time during normal working hours for union-related training (except in workplaces with fewer than 15 employees). Where necessary, the union is happy to assist reps in accessing this entitlement by contacting employers to ensure reps receive their release time.

Communication rights and workplace access: Reps are entitled to conduct reasonable communication in the workplace with members and prospective members in relation to their industrial interests. Reps also have the right to reasonable access to workplace facilities, such as email and noticeboards. You can email members and prospective members, and pin up notices and posters on your noticeboard. This broader reach is crucial for fostering a more inclusive and informed union workplace.

Protection from adverse action: When a rep acts on behalf of the union, they are protected from adverse action from their employer, provided they do not act counter to their workplace’s usual rules; for example, reps must speak respectfully and not intimidate colleagues.

What reps’ rights mean in practice

Employers should allow IEU reps to communicate with members and potential members using work emails, handouts or posters/notices about their industrial interests; for example, information about union meetings, current campaigns, or workplace issues.

IEU reps can apply for paid leave to attend IEU training about their role as rep. Reps should follow their school’s usual procedures for accessing leave for union training.

Remember, the union can contact your employer to ensure reps receive their release time entitlement.

If you have been elected as an IEU rep, make sure you let both the IEU and your principal know so you can exercise your rights as a delegate.

Any new enterprise agreements made after July this year will also need to include provisions for delegates’ rights, and modern awards must have delegates rights clauses by July.

Get your Rep’s Handbook

The latest edition of the IEU Rep’s Handbook provides reps with all the information you need on your rights as a rep, including your right to paid union training, how the union works, tips on how to run a successful chapter, and important advice on supporting members in meetings. Get your copy today by contacting your organiser or email us:

If you have any suggestions for a resource or fact sheet you need, please email us:

Sydney reps skill up

Reps from schools in the Sydney metropolitan region gathered at the IEU’s Ultimo office on Wednesday 3 April for a day’s training. We developed our skills in recruiting and supporting members, workshopped common workplace scenarios, and shared experiences of challenges faced and successes enjoyed in the rep’s role.

Missed out? For more training opportunities see :

Pat Devery
Reps Training Organiser

Calling all reps:
Training dates

Metro reps: Wednesday 8 May, IEU Office, 485 Wattle St, Ultimo

AIS reps: Friday 17 May, IEU Office, 485 Wattle St, Ultimo

Cumberland, Penrith, Blue Mountains reps: Monday 20 May, venue TBC

Monaro, South East reps: Tuesday 4 June, IEU ACT Office, Units 11-12, 3-5 Phipps Close, Deakin

Armidale, Tamworth, North West reps: Thursday 20 June, venue TBC

North Coast reps: Tuesday 25 June, IEU Lismore Office, Unit 21, Lismore Professional Centre, 103-105 Molesworth Street, Lismore

Mid North Coast reps: Thursday 27 June, Westport Club, 25 Buller Street, Port Macquarie

South Coast reps: Friday 2 August, venue TBC

Register here to attend today

Remember, you have the right to reasonable paid time for union training during normal working hours. If you need the IEU to contact your school, just let us know: