Chapter resolve pays dividends

I have to acknowledge the Union’s support in making this reclassification happen.

Betty Harris with her supportive chapter

Betty Harris’ determination and the support of her chapter has paid off not just for herself but her fellow finance officers in the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese.

Betty was convinced that she fitted the criteria to be paid at the Level 6 rate under the enterprise agreement. She first applied to her human resources department for an upgrade about seven years ago and was rejected.

She applied again last year and was rejected again. A colleague suggested writing directly to the Diocesan Director Ray Collins, including a detailed submission on why she fitted the Level 6 criteria, asking him to review the decision.

However she was once again rejected, so Betty approached the IEU. Luckily the renegotiation of the Catholic enterprise agreement in 2014/15 had resulted in an amendment which gave the Union an opportunity to question the decision.

A chapter meeting was convened, attended by IEU Assistant Secretary Mark Northam, and another approach was made to the Catholic Schools Office (CSO) on Betty’s behalf, which was again rejected.

The Union then did its homework and constructed an in depth response to the CSO’s position.

In a nutshell it said that the enterprise agreement made provision for people to be employed at Level 6 in high schools with more than 400 students, if they were fulfilling the required duties.

Following receipt of this letter, and the united front of the chapter, the decision was finally made to upgrade not only Betty but other finance officers across the diocese in a similar position.

“I’m in charge of a $3 million budget, but because of the CSO policy, I strongly believed there was an inequity between the roles of Level 5 and Level 6 that needed to be addressed,” Betty said

“I’ve since received emails from other finance officers at other schools thanking me for my actions. I have to acknowledge the Union’s support in making this reclassification happen.

“The assistance of the Union and the resolve of the chapter was the thing that did the trick in the end.”

Sue Osborne