Watcher at the gates

Being an advocate for the more vulnerable members of the school community, and making sure power doesn’t follow money, is how David Caton sees his role as a Union Rep.

Caton has been Rep at Daramalan College Dixon ACT since 2006 and attending IEU Council meetings as a delegate for a couple of years.

The school is one of Australia’s largest independent Catholic schools and, with its sister schools St Edmunds College and Marist Brothers, is in the middle of enterprise agreement negotiations.

The industrial arts teacher said he is being strongly supported in these negotiations by IEU organisers fresh from the fight with Catholic systemic schools.

“There are similar issues arising, such as the right to arbitration,” Caton said.

Members have also had some misunderstandings about pay linked to AITSL standards, and Caton said an IEU team would attend the school to sort this out.

“As a multi enterprise school we cannot take protected action, we can only talk. I think the industrial rules are broken and wholeheartedly support the ACTU’s campaign. The pendulum has swung too far in favour of the employers.

Without the right to withhold labour what do we have to bargain with?

“Without the right to withhold labour what do we have to bargain with?

“I see myself as a watcher at the gate. What employer wouldn’t love a young, early career teacher with HECS debts, a mortgage, car loan, kids etc. People in that financial position have much more pressure on them to do what’s asked, whether it’s reasonable or not.

“The Union’s role is to counterbalance that and have a look at new policies and ideas and how they affect staff.”