Smooth transition from college executive to union rep

It’s actually not that hard to sign people up to the IEU. You just have to talk to them.

After eight years as a member of the executive at Al Sadiq College, Greenacre, there were some raised eyebrows when Naz Osta stepped down from that position and became the IEU rep.

Naz left the role of Head of Welfare at the senior college at Greenacre to spend more time with his growing family and concentrate on teaching economics, business and legal studies.

Coincidently, a new IEU rep was required, and Naz was happy to put his hand up.

“Since my time at Sydney University I’ve always been into social justice and the concept of a fair go,” Naz said,

“The Union provides what the capitalist system can’t – a fair wage – and looks after your rights.”

As Head of Welfare Naz was concerned with issues of bullying, discipline, and behaviour among students and staff welfare, so it wasn’t such a big leap to become IEU Rep.

“I definitely found my skills to be transferable. I’m in a unique position, as there aren’t many people who’ve been on the executive and then become a union rep,” he said.

“When I was on the executive I had to write a lot of letters to the Union from the employer’s perspective.

“But I’ve never seen it as a black and white, ‘them and us’ situation.

“We have to work together and develop relationships, otherwise we would not get any results.”

Naz said the college’s culture of social justice is receptive to unionism. He previously worked at Patrician Brothers Fairfield, and said the two schools were similar.

Naz is an effective rep. He gained a lot from the IEU Rep’s training, and this year he’s signed up about 10 new teachers at the senior campus, and a couple of support staff.

“The problem is a lot of teachers, especially the new ones, don’t know what the IEU does.

“I just approached people and compare joining the IEU to taking out car insurance.

“You insure this hunk of metal so why wouldn’t you insure your career and reputation?

“If there’s a frivolous allegation against you by a student or parent that’s what the IEU does, they come in and give you a hand.”

Naz has also installed an IEU notice board at the school.

He uses examples like the favourable parental leave conditions in Catholic schools, which have high Union density, compared to independent schools, to highlight the benefits of Union membership.

“It’s actually not that hard to sign people up to the IEU. You just have to talk to them.”