Farewell to a staunch supporter

She was the only Union member from her Branch to take strike action when she worked in Dubbo.

Sue Core St Francis Xavier Primary School Ballina teacher and long time North Coast Branch Executive member and IEU Council delegate recently retired after a long and successful teaching career.

Sue’s membership and contribution to the Union was acknowledged at last year’s IEU Council AGM by both the General Secretary John Quessy and IEU President Chris Wilkinson and more recently at the North Coast Branch AGM held in February.

Sue started teaching in 1971 at De La Salle in Orange with a Year 3 class containing 46 boys. This was common during the 1970s. Sue said during her early teaching career there were no transfer arrangments and if you moved schools you lost what long service leave you may have accrued.

She also remembers that women were paid much less than their male counterparts and there were many equity issues to address. Many of the conditions we enjoy in today’s schools didn’t exist in the early days of Sue’s teaching time.

Sue joined what was the Independent Teachers Association (ITA) in 1975 and took up a new teaching position at St Laurence’s Primary School Dubbo in 1977. Sue quickly found out about her local ITA Central West Branch, becoming the treasurer of her Branch and then being elected as a Council delegate from her Branch.

She was the only union member from her Branch to take strike action when she worked in Dubbo, which caused a great deal of consternation with the Bathurst CEO at the time.

Council in those days was held at Chippendale and met for two full days with much focus and debate around constitutional technicalities and correct council meeting process.

In the late 90s Sue moved to the North Coast Branch area, taking up a teaching position in the Lismore Diocese, where she remained until her recent retirement.

Throughout her career Sue been a staunch and active union member, taking up various roles on the North Coast Branch of the IEU, remaining a delegate to Council and continuing her activism and support of union issues and causes. Sue was an original member of the IEU Women’s Committee.

She credits the union movement for the many great changes to teachers and support staff working conditions that today’s workforce enjoys. She reckons she has seen it all during her time, everything from improved long service leave and sick leave provisions, maternity and parental leave, pay equity and relief from face to face (RFF) teaching, whereby teachers have opportunity to undertake important preparation and professional time for their students.

Thanks Sue for your union activism and contributions over the many years as a member and we hope that you enjoy your retirement and many tours to Thailand.

Steve Bergan
IEU Organiser