Working together for a common cause

IEU Committee from left: Matthew Bower, Marcus Ribbons, Nicole Adler, Kaylene Wilson, Tony Edwards (absent Felicity Pearce).

Having a committee rather than a single person representing the IEU at your school might be the way to go, St Catherine’s Catholic College Singleton Committee Rep Marcus Ribbons said.

The committee at St Catherine’s evolved because the school was originally split into three separate sites (infants, junior, high), with each having its own rep.

When the school moved on to one site a few years ago the chapter voted on having a committee.

There are six people on the committee: three secondary teachers, two primary teachers and a member of the support staff.

“Even though we are now on one site, it’s a big school and we all have different lunch times,” Marcus said.

He takes on the responsibility of making sure Union information is disseminated to the whole school.

The committee meet twice a term before and after branch meetings, with additional meetings if required, and occasional sessions with the principal.

“It takes the pressure off. If someone is away then there is another person around that has the knowledge to answer members’ questions.

“The employer is not putting heat on one person when there is a committee.”

The VET teacher said it’s important to make sure the committee is representative. Having a support staff member on board encouraged support staff to approach the IEU with their issues.

“You have to make sure your committee is functioning properly, with a president and secretary. You must meet and follow an agenda and report back to your chapter.

“The committee must communicate and work together and help each other out.

‘That’s what being in the Union is all about. It’s not ‘what’s in it for me’. It’s about working together for a common cause.”

Sue Osborne