Rep’s spotlight

Solidarity in a small town

I was very proud of the whole school,as virtually everyone committed to take part, and it was a very unifying event for us.

An IEU Rep for 20 years, Wendy Hill has no recollection of industrial action at McAuley Catholic Central School in Tumut prior to the recent Catholic dispute.

So when the whole K-10 school stopped work last year, and resolved to take part in the one-day stoppage on 28 April, it was big news in the 6000-strong town.

“If you go on strike in the city, you can be a bit anonymous. But here everyone knows us and knew we were going on strike,” Wendy said.

“I was interviewed in the Tumut and Adelong Times and they wanted to know specifically why our school was going on strike, not the ‘party line’. We had to be committed to explaining to people what we were about.

“I was very proud of the whole school, as virtually everyone committed to take part, and it was a very unifying event for us.”

Joining the Union was a given for Wendy back in the early 90s when she started her career. Both her parents worked in the public system; her mother was a teacher and her father a principal.

“Both were in the Union and it was just what you did. I always tell new teachers about the benefits the Union has won for us, like smaller classes, RFF, long service leave, sick leave and pay increases.

“If you’re happy to accept those benefits, then you should be happy to join the Union. You can’t sit back and let others do it for you.”

While she is committed to the cause, the learning support teacher enjoys the social aspects of attending the South East Branch and Council meetings as well.

“It’s good to stay in touch with teachers from other schools and get the latest information. At Council we get a chance to raise issues at our schools, even if it’s a small thing, we can share.”

Sue Osborne