Officers from the Victoria/Tasmania Branch of the IEU often assist the NSW/ACT Branch during large campaigns and industrial action, and the favour is often returned.
VIcTas Officer Mark Mitchell has taken the mutually beneficial relationship a step further by spending the whole of Term 4 working out of the IEU’s Lismore office, replacing NSW Officer Steve Bergan while he is on leave.
Usually based in busy Melbourne, Mark said it was a nice change to enjoy the quicker commute to Lismore.
He’s also got a son living in the area, so it’s a chance for some extra family time.
Mark said learning the new industrial awards and accreditation system that applies in NSW has been a stimulating experience, while a steep learning curve.
“In Victoria we have four diocese compared to your 11. We have about 90 different awards covering independent schools, with no overarching agreement for independent schools. There’s one agreement for Catholic schools, one for Lutherans and also one for Adventists schools.”
Mark said while there are quite a few organisational differences in the way education works in the two states, the members’ issues are mostly the same.
“The members have been welcoming and friendly as it’s a challenge for me going to schools where I don’t know anybody.
“But most of the issues regarding workload, general entitlements, disputes, performance concerns and correct classification for support staff are the same as I encounter in Victoria.”
After 11 years with the Union Mark said it’s been great to see how other people work and get ideas for ways of doing things. The IEU NSW/ACT staff have been very welcoming and helpful.
“I was here for the AGM and that was a great experience. There was so much information exchanged during that meeting.”
Mark is looking forward to attending the North Coast and Central Coast Branch meetings before he returns to Victoria. In the meantime he is enjoying working with Carolyn and Cassie in the Lismore office.