Dispute goes on for principals

For principals in Catholic systemic schools, a major focus has continued to be the enterprise agreement (EA) dispute which is unfortunately now into its second year. While IEU has been bargaining in good faith for more than a year about the proposed teacher/support staff EA, at this stage in principle agreement has been reached in relation to key matters.

Principals remain concerned regarding time frames for the completion of an EA for Catholic systemic principals.

Many of the issues in contention are highly relevant for the employment conditions of principals.

In particular, principals have noted the relevance to them of sick and carer's leave, maintenance of a fair procedures clause in regard to reportable conduct allegations and the need to ensure appropriate protection in the case of suspension.

From a justice perspective, the IEU understands that principals are of course also committed to ensuring the best possible outcomes for the teachers and support staff with whom they work in the mission of Catholic education. In the words of one principal “everyone loses if conditions are undermined”.

The IEU is also aware that industrial disputes, especially stop work action, can be very stressful for principals who can feel conflicted between their loyalty to their staff and the expectations of their employers.

In regard to other matters, the IEU is very appreciative of the contribution made by many principals members to the diverse activities of the Union.

For example, a special 'thank you' is extended to Lorrae Sampson, Executive Principal of Shoalhaven Anglican Schools, for her input on leadership to the IEU women's forum at Nowra on 26 March. The feedback was very positive about Lorrae's reflective insights and practical advice.

Principals' Branch president Sidonie Coffey was also a participant in the IEU's 2015 Activist Conference held during the second week of the Easter vacation period.

The Term 2 Principals' Branch meeting was held on 2 May at the Union's Parramatta office. Some principals eligible to receive a 30-year membership badge were invited to join Branch members for morning tea.

Pam Smith
Principals Organiser