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VOICE The Northern

Vol. 6 No. 1

In this edition

March 2012

The newsletter for IEUA-QNT members

Collective Bargaining Updates Kormilda College Collective action by employees at Kormilda College has resulted in the employer amending its position for a proposed replacement agreement. Staff at the college wrote to the Board Chair rejecting the College’s position on resignation notice period which the college proposed would be a full term’s notice. Following this action by staff, the employer then backed down to the resignation notice periods of the Modern National Awards. For teachers, this is seven weeks term time notice.

Collective Bargaining Updates

Darwin Catholic Education Induction

Joining a Committee

New Organiser, Jacques Retief

All About Collective Bargaining

Member Profile, Louise Lenzo

The employer then unilaterally determined that a ballot would be held with the one week’s statutory notice and without any further reference to the SBU; effectively forcing employees to voice their concerns on the proposed agreement in their vote at the ballot. Members are to be commended for working collectively to get the employer to back down, in part, on a quite outrageous position on resignation periods.

Tiwi College Members at Tiwi College will begin negotiations for the implementation of the schools’ first collective agreement. Staff at the college are keen to start the negotiation process and achieve provisions to recognise the contributions of staff and build a stronger educational community.

The Essington School Staff at The Essington School have successfully finalised negotiations for their new agreement which is currently with Fair Work Australia for approval. Members are to be commended for their resolve during tough negotiations with the employer towards the end of discussions. The next step for members at the school is to set up a functioning consultative committee. Lutheran Sector Employees in Lutheran schools are still awaiting a resumption of negotiations. Employee representatives have been ready to resume negotiations since November last year and are disappointed with the employer delay. Employer representatives last year tabled revised documents which included a proposed pay increase from August 2012 and a proposal that T6 will be accessed on the basis of having obtained Lutheran Accreditation. Our union is seeking a further meeting with employer representatives to finalise negotiations.

Milkwood Steiner School Staff at Milkwood Steiner School will also be negotiating a collective agreement for the first time. The log of claims endorsed by members at Milkwood Steiner School includes provisions to bring wage parity with public sector schools in the area, contemporary services staff classification matrix, an hours of duty clause, and enhancements to paid parental leave. Our union commends members in these schools for their efforts in bringing about these negotiations. Staff at Tiwi College will begin negotiations for their first collective agreement

Darwin Catholic Education Induction Teachers recently employed by Catholic Education have been welcomed into the sector with an employer induction program held January 27 in Darwin. Forty-one new employees were welcomed into the Darwin Catholic Education Diocese before undertaking an intensive induction program to prepare them for the start of their teaching careers in the sector. IEUA-QNT Organisers Nick Holliday and Jacques Retief attended the program to meet with and recruit dozens of new members to our union. Nick said that the day was an important opportunity to meet with new members to discuss the key professional issues that teachers face.

“Graduate teachers and experienced teachers who are new to the Catholic sector require a lot of support to make sure they’re comfortable in this new working environment,” he said. “Membership of our union offers many professional development opportunities as well as individual support should these teachers face any issues in their new workplace,” Nick said. Our union is committed to supporting our new members and is always there to help. Members can contact our union at 1800 177 938 or for support. Resources are also on our website at

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Getting Involved:

Why You Should Join a Committee A number of union committees meet regularly to discuss important issues affecting our sector and to ensure that our union is operating effectively.

Developments in schools are monitored and analysed to gauge the impact on employment conditions of our members while ensuring that policy and negotiating positions are developed accordingly.

Committees are attended by both union officers and members to welcome a range of perspectives and encourage positive changes within our union.

International Committee

Committee meetings are generally held at our union’s Brisbane office, however, Northern Territory members can readily attend via teleconference. Joining a committee is an excellent opportunity for members to learn about, and take a hands-on role in, the running of our union.

Members of this committee discuss integral education issues affecting not only our region but also abroad. This committee builds partnerships with a range of aid agencies across the globe to help protect and promote human rights.

To find out more about any of these committees or register your interest in joining, please contact our union at 1800 177 938 or by email at

Education Committee

This committee turns its attention to the teaching profession more broadly, covering topics such as policy development and debate, engaging with statutory bodies and addressing professional issues.

Equity Committee

This committee develops campaigns on contemporary equity issues. Gender equality is a particular focus to ensure strategies that recruit and retain women members; identify equity issues for inclusion in collective bargaining; and build women member networks.

Industrial Committee

The aim of this committee is to develop resources relating to contemporary industrial issues which may affect our members.

Organising/Campaigning Committee

This committee provides a forum for members and officers to support campaigns that are occurring across Queensland and the Northern Territory, as well as in other IEUA branches around the country.

Publications Committee

Members of this committee meet to discuss planning and delivery of our union’s publications such as newsletters, e-newsletters, and journals. This committee also works on enhancing the quality and effectiveness of our union’s website and use of social media.

Meet Your New Organiser: Jacques Retief Jacques Retief joins our union as an Organiser for the Northern Territory following an extensive career of teaching across Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. Jacques holds qualifications in Industrial Relations and Education including a Master’s Degree in TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages). Jacques is looking forward to bringing his experience in the education sector and passion for fair workplace conditions to his role in the Territory. “It is important that our teachers, who are essential in the education of the future leaders of the Northern Territory, are able to work under the best possible conditions,” he said. Jacques will continue to build the strength of Northern Territory chapters and the level of member engagement. “Our union encourages an engaged, collective approach to issues that arise in the workplace, and to sharing information with colleagues. An established and engaged membership base will ensure that the future of our teachers are secure, that teachers’ needs are accommodated, and our teachers have real work-life balance,” he said. Jacques is also looking forward to building collective strength at individual workplaces by encouraging members to take up Chapter Executive Committee roles such as Collective Bargaining Co-ordinator, Membership Co-ordinator, and Network Co-ordinator. Jacques can be contacted via phone at 0439 980 166 or by email at

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Collective Bargaining: What You Need to Know

Collective bargaining is the primary way our union secures above-award employment conditions for our members. Both employers and employees are entitled to nominate Bargaining Representatives who will take part in the negotiations.

required to make concessions or agree on terms during bargaining. Parties are able to seek assistance from Fair Work Australia if any other party to the negotiation is not behaving in good faith.

The bargaining process generally begins when: »» The employer agrees to or initiates bargaining, or »» A majority support determination is delivered This is referred to as the notification time. The employer must inform staff of their right to be represented as soon as possible after the notification time, and no later than 14 days. This notification should be given to every person employed at the notification time who will be covered by the agreement. Parties to a negotiation should be acting in what is referred to as “Good Faith Bargaining”.

Who can be a Bargaining Representative? * Any employer who would be covered by the agreement * Any union who has a member that will be covered by the agreement * A relevant person specified in writing to act as a representative for any employee or employer who will be covered by the agreement

In “good faith” representatives are required to: • apply reasonable time management to meeting attendance • disclose any information which is relevant • respond to any proposals made by other parties in a timely manner • consider any proposals with sincerity and give reasoned responses However, good faith bargaining does not mean that representatives are

Our union has a long history of representing members in good faith during negotiations. Meetings between bargaining representatives to discuss negotiations are called Single Bargaining Unit (SBU) meetings. Our union officers and a selection of active members who will be covered by the proposed agreement attend these SBU meetings with the employer/employer representatives. If you would like to discuss bargaining representation within your school, contact our union at 1800 177 938 or via email at See the next edition of Northern Voice for information about the role and importance of SBU meetings during collective bargaining.

Remote Area Survey IEUA-QNT members in remote schools across the Northern Territory and Queensland have participated in a survey to investigate the current status of housing in remote areas. The survey reviews the concerns remote area members have regarding accommodation and conditions and covered a range of topics. There was a very strong response from chapters, with many members taking part in the survey. The information gathered in the survey will be used to better inform member professional development, school and sector campaigns, as well as feeding in to collective bargaining processes. A chapter briefing will soon be issued regarding the results of the survey, with a further teleconference to follow to consider member action at a chapter and sector level. LEFT: Nyangatjatjara College staff including Chris Harvey, Sharon Sigley, Rachel Muller and Marty Kendall gathered at the Yulara Campus to discuss the survey and other issues of concern to the Chapter. Members at the Docker River campus connected to the meeting by teleconference.

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he Northern Voice The Northern Voice The Northern Voice The Northern Voice The No Do NT teachers face particular issues?

Member Snapshot

I think teaching standards are a great concern at the moment. There is often a perception that NT schools don’t offer the same level of education as others in this country which is not true and the perception really needs to be addressed. Do you find union membership rewarding? Absolutely! Being part of a strong and united group makes me feel empowered in the workplace. I know I have someone to call upon if problems ever arise. Due to strong membership at our school, I also feel that I have been able to make friendships with staff that I may not have usually come across during my working day. Have your workplace conditions directly improved because of union members working together?

Louise Lenzo, The Essington School Teaching came really naturally to me. I’m from a big Italian family and my sisters and I were always looking after the little ones; reading with them and playing games was always really fun. I love being involved in early development, and I like getting to know my class on a personal level. How long have you lived and worked in NT? I came to the Territory fresh from university; that was 26 years ago. I have worked mainly in the Catholic system and have been at The Essington School for 6 years now. What have been some of your career highlights? Teaching can be such an intense and demanding career. A real highlight for me was when my former Principal recommended I apply for the Advanced Skills Teacher (AST) program. Initially I thought there was no way that I would achieve that level of recognition but with the support from my colleagues, I began to feel more comfortable in my abilities as a teacher. I think it is very important to be recognised professionally for your achievements and commitment to doing the best job you can. In the end I did achieve my AST Level 1 which is something of which I am very proud. What key issues do teachers currently face? I think there are a range of professional issues teachers are concerned about currently; particularly the dangers of social media and crossing a line in the student/teacher relationship. I think many attacks on teachers stem from this, and there is only so much that a student should know about your personal life and vice versa.

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We have just been through collective bargaining, for which I was on the SBU, and I found the process very enlightening. It was great to get a deeper understanding of our collective agreement and I will now appreciate how improvements in conditions are really only achieved with a strong union collective. Would you encourage your colleagues to join our union? Sure. I think all staff members should join our union. The peace of mind in having union support and being given the right information is invaluable.

JOIN YOUR UNION TODAY Help build collective strength and enhance the working rights and conditions of all education professionals working in the Northern Territory. To join IEUA-QNT, visit our website at or call our Darwin office on FREECALL 1800 351 996 ISSN: 1834-5190 The Northern Voice was prepared by Elise Cuthbertson Editor: Mr Terry Burke, Branch Secretary IEUA-QNT PO BOX 418, FORTITUDE VALLEY QLD 4006 PH: 1800 351 996 FX: (07) 3839 7021 Email: Website: ABN: 74 662 601 045