Postcards hit home

IEU members have achieved a win on behalf of their colleagues in the Wilcannia-Forbes Diocese.

Teachers and support staff working in schools in the remote Wilcannia-Forbes Diocese were left feeling isolated and disadvantaged by a ruling by Director of Schools Anthony Morgan.

In all other dioceses in NSW, school staff are allowed to access long service leave in short blocks of a few days to take their children to important family functions, sports carnivals or to settle them into boarding school.

In the Wilcannia-Forbes Diocese, teachers and support staff could only take long service leave in blocks of three weeks or more. This left them unable to attend appointments in Sydney for example, which is a day’s travel away.

The diocese covers an area about the size of Germany (50% of NSW), so flexible leave arrangements are vital.

The IEU organised a campaign with members sending Mr Morgan a postcard calling for him to reverse his decision.

At least 300 postcards arrived in Mr Morgan’s letterbox. Local media such as the Daily Liberal, ABC Broken Hill, Parkes Champion Post, Nyngan Observer and others took up the story.

The diocese relented to pressure and now staff in Wilcannia-Forbes can request long service leave in short blocks again, giving them the flexibility they deserve in such a remote area.

IEU Wilcannia-Forbes Council delegate Peter Nunn said it was “a wonderful result”.

“Staff from 16 out of the 18 schools in our diocese, as well as the principals, have been waiting for this for over 18 months,” Peter said.

“We would all like to thank the IEU Council members who voted for the first motion and then later not only filled in the post cards at the AGM, but also took them back to their own schools, letting staff know of what was happening in Wilcannia-Forbes. Fellow staff members then filled them out and sent them off.

“We would also like to sincerely thank our IEU Organiser Marilyn Jervis for her tireless work to get our diocese back on par with the other dioceses in NSW.

“For many of us it’s a sigh of relief when thinking about our family commitments in 2016 and it is great to know the Wilcannia-Forbes CEO is now supporting us. It’s just like an early Christmas present.”