Bargaining roundup page 5
Primary Principals conference page 8
Supervising students page 13
Protest photos and feedback pages 10–11
Green Schools conference page 15
PRINT POST 352524/00374
independent education union VICTORIA TASMANIA
VOLUME 2 NO 5
Thousands of IEU members from Victorian Catholic schools came together in the historic Royal Exhibition building in Carlton for a mass meeting on 5 September and then joined other unions for a rally in front of Parliament House.
he mood of the meeting was high energy, partly due to the inimitable IEU style of the seriousness of the issues at stake interspersed with music and comedy. Debra James, General Secretary, moved a motion of condemnation against the state government’s divisive proposals, and Loretta Cotter, Deputy Secretary, moved a motion against the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria, for its position and legal strategies leading up to the day of protest (read the motions on p4). Both motions were unanimously carried. members addressed the meeting with passion about their reasons for participation and the impact that the State government proposals would have in their school. After the meeting, swathed in IEU raincoats, a sea of purple flowed down to Parliament House, to meet thousands of members from the AEU and other unions. For IEU members, it was the biggest turnout ever, and for the whole education community, the largest day of protest in Victoria’s history. Despite aggressive tactics from Catholic employing authorities in respect to taking action, IEU members stood together and delivered a compelling message to the State government – lift your own performance, and come back with a wages offer that properly values the work of Victoria’s teachers, support staff and principals. inside: What now? What we said
How it evolved How we looked
deBra james’ address at parliament house
It’s a fantastic sight to look out here at the red and purple people, and what I see in front of me is the biggest education pride march in the history of the state. I see AEU members, IEU members, CPSU members, proud of the work they do, proud of the job they do for the kids of this state, and willing to get out here and have a fight and have a go to protect our work, protect our jobs and protect our pay. The Catholic employers tried to stop us. The Catholic employers tried everything they could to get us not to come out today and be with AEU members. They tried to divide us. Shame on Catholic employing authorities, Shame! The action of the members from independent and Catholic schools today is unprotected action. We don’t have the capacity to take
protected action the way members in the AEU do because you’ve got one employer – we’ve got 480 schools, 360 individual employers, and we can’t take protected action. So we are out here today, unprotected and undeterred. And what I see now in front of me today are teachers from Catholic schools talking to teachers from government schools, principals from Catholic schools talking to principals from government schools, and, most importantly and historically, education support staff from Catholic schools talking to education support staff from government schools. We do the same jobs. We do the same work. We face the same challenges day in, day out, and we know how hard it is for each other. I am proud to stand shoulder-toshoulder with my colleagues from the other unions today, and I pledge the commitment of our union to continue this campaign until there is a just outcome for us all.
THE POINT October 2012
Contacts, calendar & contents ContaCt us
EDITORIAL/ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES T: (03) 9254 1860 F: (03) 9254 1865 FreeCall: 1800 622 889 E: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.ieuvictas.org.au CONTRIbUTIONS & LETTERS from members are welcome and should be forwarded to: The Point PO box 1320, South Melbourne 3205, or by email to: ThePoint@ieuvictas.org.au MELbOURNE OFFICE: 120 Clarendon Street, Southbank 3006 HObART OFFICE: 379 Elizabeth Street, Nth Hobart 7000 The Point is published by the Independent Education Union Victoria Tasmania. EDITORIAL CONTENT Responsibility for editorial comment is taken by D.James, 120 Clarendon Street, Southbank 3006. Views expressed in articles reflect those of the author and are not necessarily union policy. DESIGN/SUbEDITOR
COMMITTEE OF MANAGEMENT General Secretary Debra James Deputy Secretary Loretta Cotter Assistant Secretary (Tas) Angela briant President Mark Williams Deputy President Elisabeth buckley Ordinary Members Patrick bennett Andrew Dunne Coralie Taranto Emma Wakeling School Officers Margot Clark
Friday 19 October
Leadership Seminar: Constructive Feedback
Tuesday 23 October
Initial rep training
Tuesday 30 October
Experienced Rep training
Friday 2 November
Legal seminar: Equal Opportunity
Saturday 10 November
Monday 12 November
ESS Seminar: Changing Difficult behaviours
Friday 16 November
Green Schools Conference
Footy tipping triumph
Congratulations to Damien Halliday, the 2012 IEU footy tips winner. Damien, a Carlton supporter, was initially just interested in winning the free movie tickets and often did his tips well in advance of the round.
Council Presidents & Deputies Catholic Primary Council President: Christine Hilbert Deputy: Maree Shields Catholic Secondary Council President: Stephen Hobday Deputy: Ruth Pendavingh Independent Council President: Gregory Hawkins Deputy: Cara Maxworthy Tasmanian Council President: John Waldock Deputy: Jeremy Oliver Principals’ Council President: John Connors Deputy: Duncan Arendse
It was only towards the end of the year when he realised he had a serious chance of winning that Damien applied more science to his tipping. This usually involved consulting colleagues and favouring the home team, mixed in with gut instinct and plain old fashioned luck. He did not become obsessed waiting for teams to be announced, but did take notice if any big names were unable to play. Damien was most confident picking Hawthorn but was let down on occasion by Geelong, West Coast and his beloved blue boys. Damien intends to use the travel voucher to take his family overseas next winter. Congratulations also to Michelle Yarnton from King David School who is the random prize winner. Thanks to all the members who submitted their tips every week and thanks also to our generous sponsors Catholic Super and Members Equity bank who made the competition possible.
what’s Catholic Agreement latest What happened, what’s NOT happening, what happens next
Anna Stewart Project Getting strong Tasmanian women into more union roles
Campaigning with social media How the IEU is using Facebook and twitter to engage current and potential members
Thinking of leaving your job? Find out how much notice you need to give
Could you survive on $35 a day? The case for increasing the Newstart allowance
Catholic Education Office Update The IEU is helping CEOM staff address leave & overtime issues page 13 Making your workplace safer Setting up health & safety reps, Designated Work Groups
$3000 IEU awards Applications are now open for the barry Wood Grant and Jan bavinton Project
National and International Education news in other states and other countries
Teachers Games A successful Games, on and off the field, for IEU members
October 2012 THE POINT
Get over it, and get on with it I’m not sure what’s in the drinking water over at james Goold House, but increasingly the CECV seem to be out of touch with those they are commissioned to support. The reactions of many teachers, support staff and principals range from disappointed and dismayed to angry and disillusioned over the recent behaviour of Catholic education authorities.
n the lead up to the day of protest on 5 September we saw a much different approach by the CECV from that taken on previous occasions. It is not the union who has acted differently this time around. While it would be drawing a long bow to say the CECV had ‘supported’ action in the past, their reaction to it in 2008 and 2004 was much more respectful and pragmatic regarding participation and at least recognised that the outcome for government schools would be something that IEU members would seek to influence. However, this time we saw some rather desperate attempts to deter staff from participating with threats of fines and penalties, legal action against IEU members in Fair Work Australia and, even propaganda about our action only being in support of the AEU and therefore somehow against
Victorian Catholic Agreement: what’s next? Wednesday 5 September was a fantastic day for IEU members in Victorian Catholic education, and our large, loud protest will have no doubt done its job of putting extra pressure on the State Government to come back to the bargaining table with a better wages outcome for staff in government schools - an outcome that has a direct impact on staff in Catholic education.
s a matter of fact we do know that, just days after the rally, the State Government recommenced negotiations with the AEU and that at the time of publication had already completed two meetings over a range of outstanding matters. Hopefully these negotiations will soon result in a decent wages outcome for our members. This willingness of the Baillieu Government to recommence bargaining in good faith despite the possibility of further stop-work action by the AEU is in stark contrast to the actions of the Catholic Education Commission, who have continued to refuse our repeated invitations to recommence negotiations – two months after they walked away from the bargaining table. This intransigence from the CECV is unhelpful, but sadly unsurprising. While the IEU will continue working to make the CECV do the right thing, we must equally remain committed to keeping up pressure on the Baillieu Government to deliver a fair wage outcome for our members in Victorian Catholic education. Unless it’s clear that a deal is close in the coming weeks, we will
take our campaign straight to the people that voted them in. Starting in early Term 4, we will be coordinating teams of members to letterbox leaflets in key marginal seats. The leaflets will explain how the Government’s plans for education would adversely affect not just our members, but the quality of education thousands of children around the state receive. Their parents have a right to know what the Government is up to. Issues like the divisive performance pay proposals on the table, and an end to automatic incremental career progression are not issues we can afford to compromise on to secure a quick outcome. They are simply too damaging, not only for our members, but for education in Victoria. What’s worse, we know they won’t work. The IEU has spent over a year campaigning for fairer wages and conditions for members in Victorian Catholic education, and we know there may be many more months of work before we can recommend a new agreement to members - but we are here for the long haul.
Catholic education. These tactics no doubt had an effect on the decision of some staff to participate, but for many members it merely served to harden their resolve. A number of principals told us about the harassment they experienced regarding completion of a survey just prior to and following the Day of Protest. They talked of repeated phone calls, each coming from someone more senior in the CEO hierarchy with an escalation in the tone of the ‘request’ describing this level of agitation as unprecedented and unnecessary. It is little wonder some principals were reluctant to provide the information, given their growing mistrust and frustration with the Catholic education authorities and their actions over bargaining and the day of protest.
general secretary DEb jamES Walking away from the bargaining table prior to 5 September was unprecedented and unnecessary. Not returning to the bargaining table is unfathomable, especially given the government sector negotiators have engaged in two meetings with the AEU with more to come. We have communicated twice now with the CECV since 5 September about a return to the table. As I write there has not even been a response. This makes a mockery of the CECV’s stated commitment to working towards an Agreement for staff in Catholic education. There are many issues that can and should be dealt with that do not rely on an outcome in the government sector on wages, and putting these matters on hold will only slow things down for us when the Government comes to its senses and a fair deal is reached for staff in government schools. So come on CECV, get over it and get on with it. Show staff in Catholic schools that you really respect and value their work.
IEU CONFErENCE rEmINDEr IEu Victoria tasmania annual Conference saturday 10 november 2012 Registrations open from 9.15am, Conference begins 9.30am. Day concludes with lunch at 1.00pm. IEU Conference Centre, Ground Floor, 120 Clarendon Street, Southbank. Annual Conference is made up of elected Conference delegates from Victorian and Tasmanian Councils, together with the Committee of management. Conference delegates will hear the Secretary’s Annual report, determine the 2013 membership fees, and ratify any new policies. Only elected delegates can vote, but any interested members or reps are welcome to attend as observers. more information and an agenda will be sent to delegates closer to the day.
THE POINT June 2012
News aCtIon EVolutIon how EVEnts unfoldEd 12 May
IEU Councils pass unanimous resolution against the CECV for not opting for a Single Enterprise agreement (SEa) which contains good faith bargaining provisions and the right to take protected industrial action.
Catholic employer log of claims tabled in negotiations – leave reserved to implement any offsets in the government sector. Separate claim for hard barriers for all employees, based on performance criteria.
IEU Committee of management passes resolution determining to exert pressure on the State Government and call on members to participate in a day of protest on 5 September.
Stephen Elder, CECV Director, writes to IEU asking for confirmation by COb 2 august whether the IEU is engaging in industrial action.
Prior to deadline, the CECV suspend negotiations with the IEU and send a circular to all schools decrying the action as unauthorised.
CECV sends a five page bulletin to schools, communicating information about individual fines if members engage in action, and playing wedge politics about the nature of the protest.
CECV seeks an order in Fair Work australia against the IEU and all members prohibiting industrial action of any form until 28 February 2013.
FWa hands down decision and issues order. Order limited to IEUa officers and employees. It directs Debra james, General Secretary, to post on Facebook and twitter that the action has been cancelled, and to provide the terms of the order to sub-branch reps. It directs officers and employees of the Union not to encourage or incite industrial action.
IEU complies with terms of order.
IEU writes to all employers asking if the actions to date of the CECV have been taken in their name and with their informed consent.
CECV circular to schools states that any staff member who takes action on 5 September does so ‘without the support of the IEU’.
IEU writes to members clarifying that they will always have the support of their Union.
CECV circular to schools asks that staff fill in an ‘intention to participate in unprotected industrial action’ pro-forma.
IEU writes to reps advising that members are not obliged to fill in this pro-forma.
5 September mass meeting of IEU members at Royal Exhibition
building, followed by march to Parliament House.
5 September Contrary to content and inference of all
previous CECV circulars, CECV Director Stephen Elder quoted in The Age that no individuals will be fined for participating in protest.
10 & 14 September
IEU writes to Catholic employer negotiating team and all CEO Directors repeating request to recommence bargaining.
12 September CECV Director Stephen Elder writes to principals
asking them to pass on his thanks to staff who did not participate in protest action.
At time of printing there has been no response to the IEU from the CECV. The AEU is back at the bargaining table with the State Government.
A line crossed
We took ‘unprotected’ action in Catholic schools in 2004 and again in 2008. We have never in the past been able to take ‘protected’ action because of the type of Agreement we have that covers hundreds of employers. And so, as we have done before, we took a walk, we gave up our pay, to exert pressure on the government of the day about the deal on the table. A deal we knew would come to us.
he employing authorities have never been happy about member action. They have routinely advised that it is unprotected and they have circulated the usual bits of information and cautions about disruption. They have mentioned the possibility of fines and they have quoted selective bits of Catholic social teachings. This time around has been different in some key ways. They had a choice under our current legislation to make a different type of Agreement which would have enabled us to take protected action, and which contained stronger rights about bargaining. They chose not to give members those rights. Then they turned around when we called on members and said that, because it wasn’t protected action, they were walking away from the bargaining table. The CECV exerted unrelenting political and legal pressure on
schools and employees to not participate in the action. They divided principals and staff in some workplaces, and some subbranches. And when they realised that all their propaganda wasn’t working, they decided to try and gag the Union and its members and reps. They filed an application on 20 August seeking to prevent all members of the union from aiding, abetting, inciting, and encouraging people to participate. We fought that. But we knew within the confines of the instrument they chose, that they would be able to get an order. So we were directed to tell all reps that the day of protest was cancelled. They then had the gall to send another bulletin telling our members that the Union wouldn’t support them if they took action and again mentioning individual fines of thousands of dollars. And that’s when a tide of
deputy secretary lORETTa COTTER members proved that their tactics of division and wedge politics wouldn’t work. And they stood up. We acknowledge that many principals and employers were supportive and also stood up to extreme pressure regarding 5 September. We won’t forget that. But we also know that there were many workplaces where the combination of an unrelenting fear campaign and an unsupportive principal worked. I have been told of staff on fixed term contracts being warned to think about their contracts for next year if they participated. Of reps being called into the principal’s office and read each line of the CECV bulletins as if it were gospel. We had members in tears phoning the office about the possibility of fines or losing jobs. There is work to be done to rebuild some of those subbranches and to empower those members. A line was crossed, and we won’t forget it.
‘This meeting of IEU members CONDEmNS the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria for: n taking the unprecedented step of walking away from the bargaining table; n refusing to negotiate the kind of Agreement which would require the CECV to bargain in good faith, ensure that all employees are properly and legally covered, and enable staff to take protected action as is the right of most employees when they bargain in this country; n failing to tell the employers that they claim to “represent” that there was a better and fairer type of Agreement; and n engaging in underhanded, aggressive, divisive and misleading tactics over today’s action tactics which have now proved to be ineffective. This meeting acknowledges and congratulates those principals, Parish Priests and employers who have respected the decision of staff members to participate and we pledge that their actions in treating staff with dignity and maturity will be remembered. We authorise the Union to take any and all necessary steps to pursue fair, just and legally enforceable employment conditions for all staff in Catholic education.’
‘recognising that the outcome of negotiations in government schools directly affects the wages of teachers, principals and education support staff in Catholic schools this meeting of IEU members: n CONDEmNS the Baillieu Government’s broken promise to make Victoria’s teachers the highest paid in Australia – because teachers, education support staff and principals deserve to be properly recognised and rewarded; n CONDEmNS ill-considered and unworkable “performance pay” proposals – because they are divisive and have no positive impact on performance; and n CONDEmNS proposed “productivity offsets” including limiting incremental career progression, increasing scheduled class time and requiring attendance during holidays – because our members need respect, not increased workloads. We demand the Baillieu Government return to the negotiating table with a fair offer for staff in Victorian schools, and resolve to continue campaigning to remove performance bonuses from the agenda and to achieve a proper pay rise for all.’
October August 2012 THE POINT
readers of The Point will be aware of the ongoing problems in concluding Agreement negotiations at mLC in Kew.
The employer had proposed that teachers may be required to attend for up to ten additional tactics days during school holidays. Further, the staff representatives ics ood up.on the Bargaining Group were dissatisfied with the inadequacy ny of the pay offer made to school were assistants. The level of staff up opposition to the employer ing position was overwhelmingly get endorsed in a staff survey. t Since then, the employer es has proposed a compromise an position on the school holiday and an ked. issue. Essentially, this involved n fixed a maximum of up to 2 days ed to during school holidays for the purposes of professional learning, for only at the end of term breaks, ed. and with 6 months’ notice. A e subsequent staff survey, with a ach s if it very high response rate, again bers in overwhelmingly rejected the out the employer position. The employer rejected an jobs. enhanced school assistant salary o proposal outright, citing financial those issues as the major reason, adding ed, and that they believed their offer to be an excellent one in light of industry standards. Again, the staff survey strongly rejected the employer position. The clear message is that staff would vote ‘NO’ if any Agreement were to be put to the vote. IEU staff on the Bargaining Group attempted to find a resolution on the school assistants salary issue, but again, our propositions were rejected. The same financial constraint issues were given. Given the size of the school budget, its reported profit, and our compromise position put, it is safe to say that this excuse is hard to understand. The response comments made by staff were as powerful as the resounding ‘NO’ vote. Staff and Union reps will attempt to recommence negotiations at the beginning of term four.
Which way for independent wages? The IEU is currently involved in active negotiations for new Agreements in over 30 independent schools. The progress of negotiations is at various stages. However, it is clear that many schools are grappling with the best approach to determining and making a wage offer. Equally, members are faced with the dilemma of what is the best course to achieve a fair wage outcome.
any independent schools set wages relative to Government School rates and have historically committed to maintaining that relativity – for example, maintaining a 3% margin above Government (and Catholic school) rates. This year, however, the IEU and the AEU have been in negotiations for respective Agreements covering Catholic and government school employees. The Victorian Government has a well-publicised position of offering no more than 2.5% in the public sector unless productivity gains can be made. Until those negotiations are finalised, there is no agreed increase in place for 2013, around which independent schools can benchmark their own wages. In addition, it is possible there will be changes to the teacher classification structure which may also impact on progression and therefore wage outcomes. The IEU is dealing with this uncertain situation in several ways. On behalf of members who have historically had wages set at a margin above Government wages, the IEU claims that this relativity should be maintained or improved. In the absence of a clear position against which that margin can be set, some schools are: 1. agreeing to an interim wage increase and deferring bargaining until later in the year, pending the outcome of the Government negotiations. This approach ensures any adjustment to interim wage increases can be addressed during bargaining and that salary increases are not unduly delayed. 2. agreeing to defer wages offers until the Government outcome is known. The benefit of this approach is that relativities will be maintained. The downside is that it may yet be many months until this outcome is known. 3. entering a short Agreement, usually a one year Agreement, with wages and conditions in place for 2013 and an
understanding that the subsequent negotiation will be for wages only once the Government outcome is known. This approach gives the parties the ability to wait and see what will happen with wages, but does not provide the same industrial stability and certainty as a longer Agreement. 4. determining and agreeing to wage offers for the life of the Agreement without reference to Government wages. This approach gives certainty for the life of the Agreement, but does expose members to the risk of wages falling behind established benchmarks. The question also arises as to what is the appropriate level of wage increase to recognise the work of teachers and education support staff in schools. A look at what has occurred during the year indicates that many schools are passing on wage increases of between 3-4%. The provision of interim wage increases and deferral of bargaining until later in 2012 has been a popular option this year. Schools such as The King David School, Life Education Victoria, Longerenong College, Mount Scopus College, Ruyton Girls’ School, St Leonard’s College, Gippsland Grammar School, St Margaret’s School and The Knox School have adopted this approach. For example at St Margaret’s an interim wage increase of 3.2% has been paid to teaching staff with an Agreement that if the outcome in government schools is better, those rates will be matched when the parties reach a new agreement. Education Support staff have received a 4% wage increase and the parties will commence bargaining late in 2012. While bargaining at Strathcona has been progressing steadily, the final component –the employer making a wage offer and forming a position on other ‘money’ related claims– has been deferred, pending the outcome of the Government negotiations.
Kingswood College has come to an in-principle agreement to enter a one year Agreement to cover 2013. The parties anticipate that negotiations thereafter will be solely around wages pending the Government deal and that the conditions negotiated for the one year Agreement will be rolled over. At Xavier College negotiations have concluded with wage increases set at 3.6% for 2012 and at least 3.6% for 2013 and 2014, pending the government outcome. Negotiations at many other schools are also continuing without being delayed for state sector outcomes. These include Ballarat and Clarendon College, St Michael’s Grammar, Monash College, Melbourne Girls’ Grammar, Kilvington Girls’ Grammar and Geelong College.
luthEran sChools updatE
The Lutheran Schools multi-Enterprise Agreement will expire at the end of 2012. The IEU has met with officers of the Lutheran Education South Eastern region (LESEr) office to discuss the options for the next enterprise Agreement. The year has seen significant changes in management at LESEr and for this reason it was agreed that negotiations would be delayed until all vacant positions were filled. The IEU has been advised that this process should be complete by the end of the year. LESEr has advised the IEU that it intends all Lutheran Schools to provide a 3% wage increase for all staff for the start of 2013. This increase will also apply to allowances for positions of responsibility. A commitment has been given to commence negotiations at the start of Term 2 in 2013 and to meet again with the IEU to formalise the parties’ intentions in a memorandum of Understanding. The IEU will start meeting with staff in Lutheran Schools throughout Term 4 to gain feedback and start developing a claim for the next enterprise Agreement.
THE POINT October 2012
News IEUA TAKES IT Up WITh CANBERRA In August 2012, the hallowed halls of Old Parliament House resounded with the earnest deliberations of IEUA policy makers. All state and territory branches of the Independent Education Union of Australia (IEUA) were represented by the members of their Committees of Management at the inaugural policy setting conference.
Anna Stewart participants including IEU rep Adrienne Reeve (third from left), with Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins (centre front).
anna Stewart Project
strong tasmanIan unIons nEEd strong womEn The Anna Stewart Program has been one of the focus activities of the Unions Tasmania Women’s Committee for several years, with the IEU playing an active role on that Committee.
hile Tasmania has the highest rate of union membership in the country, with 25% union density, it can be quite difficult for small unions to individually organise a two week program for an Anna Stewart Program participant. For that reason the Unions Tasmania Women’s Committee has for some years centrally coordinated the Program and run it as a cross-union activity. This year the IEU took on the responsibility for organising the Program and it was based at the Unions Tasmania Centre for a two week period in August. There were seven participants including IEU member Adrienne reeve, sub-branch rep at Holy rosary School in Hobart’s northern suburbs. Other participants were from the CPSU (SPFT), ANF, AEU, ASU and AmWU. During the program the participants participated in a diverse and really interesting range of activities that included: n A visit to the Anti-Discrimination Commission and a briefing from the Commissioner robin Banks n Sessions on Superannuation and financial planning for women n Participating in information sessions on Workplace Health & Safety; Communicating as a Unionist; the Organising model, current union campaigns and Understanding Awards and Agreements n Joining inspirational women at the Women’s Electoral Lobby 40th Anniversary function n Lunch with Julie Collins member mHr for Franklin and the minister for the Status of Women n A training session on ‘Women overcoming Challenges’ presented by margaret reynolds, former Labor Senator for Queensland and currently State manager Tasmania for National Disability Services n meeting current Tasmanian Senators Anne Urquhart and Carol Brown. The participants also worked on a project on the theme of ‘Insecure Work’ and made a presentation on the final day of the program. They evaluated the experience as very motivating and confidencebuilding.
participant adrienne reeve, sub-branch rep at holy rosary school, wrote about her experience of the project: ‘For 8 days in August, I was very fortunate to be a participant in the Anna Stewart memorial Program. To be honest, at first I didn’t really know what to expect but was excited to have 8 days away from work! The very first day I met six women from different workplaces who, like me, are union delegates in their workplace. The program for the eight days was very full, but each and every session was interesting and inspiring. I had always thought that people, particularly women, in unions and politics had wanted those positions from an early age, and worked and trained to achieve them. It was surprising and inspiring to learn that women had never aspired to those positions but rather took them on after experiencing life in the workplace and seeing that changes needed to be made. It gave me the thought that perhaps that could be me too. I was again inspired and awed at the Women’s Electoral Lobby luncheon and Parliament House. I was privileged to be in the company of extremely courageous women who fought the stereotypes in society and gave women a voice. The progress that has been made in equality can be attributed in large part to these women. I thoroughly enjoyed the day I spent in another union. I was fortunate to go to the CEPU for the day and saw the issues that employees in that sector were facing. It made me realise the wonderful work that unions do and particularly illustrated to me the good conditions the IEU has acquired for employees in non-government education. Throughout the program the participants had a project to complete. The focus of the project was insecure work. researching this topic highlighted the problems that insecure work causes employees right across Australia. As each participant was employed in a different sector, it was very interesting to see how much of an impact insecure work has in different industries. There were so many experiences that I could probably write a novel but the final thing I would like to mention is the wonderful women who participated in the program with me. We developed friendships and still keep in contact with each other. I thoroughly recommend this program to any woman given the opportunity.’
Participants were addressed over the two days by speakers including: Peter Garrett, minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth; Senator Jacinta Collins, Parliamentary Secretary for School Education and Workplace relations; Dave Oliver, recently elected ACTU Secretary; Chris Watt, IEUA Federal Secretary; and Dick Shearman, IEUA Federal President. Speakers affirmed the important role of non-government schools and that of the IEUA, which represents 72,000 members working in non-government education. The government’s response to the Gonski report into the funding of Australian schools was a key topic. While no specific details of the government’s response were able to be given, there was a commitment to improved funding levels in return for improved outcomes. The bulk of the conference was devoted to the presentation, discussion and adoption of a suite of IEUA policies which are central in our negotiations at federal and state levels, particularly around important entitlements for our members. A number of IEU Victoria Tasmania COm members, John Connors (St Anne’s Primary East Kew), Jeremy Oliver (St John’s Catholic School richmond, Tasmania), margot Clark (Overnewton), Stephen Hobday (St monica’s College Epping) and Cara maxworthy (St margaret’s Berwick ) spoke to specific policies. Policies were adopted around: n Work Life and Family Balance n Early Childhood Education and Care n Quality Education for Students with Special Needs and Disabilities n Pre-service Teacher Placements n Induction for Early Career teachers n Quality Professional Learning n Information Technology in Schools n Assessment and reporting; and n Teacher Appraisal.
October 2012 THE POINT
News promoting safer workplaces
Healthier and happier in TaS
For too many years there has been an unfortunate culture in many Tasmanian Catholic and independent schools of a lack of awareness of workplace health and safety matters, which directly affects IEU members.
his is about to change. Our objective leading into 2013 is that non-government schools in Tasmania will become healthier and happier workplaces. Our goal on behalf of members is that fewer members suffer the debilitating effects of physical injury, illness and psychological stress as a result of their work. We will be allocating time, resources and energy into skilling up our members, organising elections; and offering quality training for Health and Safety reps and advocating for improved practices. We will endeavour to work on this co-operatively and collaboratively with employers. To this end we initiated a meeting with Catholic Education Tasmania at which frank discussion took place and we enunciated our workplace health and safety goals. I feel sure that all members who read this column will know personally at least one workmate who, through no fault of their own, has become a victim of a workplace injury or physical or psychological illness. These
injuries have a profound effect not just on the worker and in relation to their work but on every aspect of that person’s life. An example of this is one member, a teacher assistant in a Catholic school, who fell heavily while helping a physically disabled student, injuring his back. He had to undergo major surgery for a ruptured disc. In addition to his pain and suffering, his family was badly affected, as he wasn’t able to drive to visit his elderly parents, take his children to school or sporting activities, and do the gardening and the other myriad activities that keep a family going. One truism in life is that change doesn’t happen if we as individuals don’t make the effort to ensure that it happens. The opportunity to be pro-active in the workplace health and safety area is there for us now with the introduction of the new Workplace Health and Safety Act in Tasmania on 1 January 2013. This legislation provides much clearer specifications than the previous laws on how workers can
assistant secretary (tasmania) aNGEla bRIaNT be protected and risk eliminated or minimised at work. The WHS Act provides for fair and effective workplace representation, consultation, co-operation and issue resolution. It encourages unions and employer organisations to take a constructive role in promoting improvements in WHS practices and assisting workers to achieve a healthier and safer working environment. The message is – watch this space. The IEU will be providing advice, information, education and training, AND we will be ensuring that employers in Catholic and independent school comply with the Act. Workers should be given the highest level of protection against harm to their health, safety and welfare and as much protection from hazards and risks arising from work as is reasonably practicable. We want our members to get home at the end of a working day, year or career in good health so that they can get on with the rest of their lives.
CAMpAIGNING WITh SOCIAL MEDIA
One of the more exciting developments from the recent campaign for better wages and conditions in Victorian Catholic schools is the explosion of interaction across social media between IEU members.
hile the IEU’s use of Facebook and Twitter will never replace the more traditional means of communication with members, including mail, email, phone calls and one-on-one conversations and meetings, these platforms have some significant benefits of their own which the union is using to reach more people, more quickly. Over the last few months, the IEU has increased its presence on social media, leading to us now having over 500 ‘followers’ on Twitter and almost 900 ‘likes’ on Facebook – numbers that continue to grow daily. Some of the posts we put up are then shared and seen by thousands of other people. The importance of Facebook and Twitter in allowing us to engage in genuine conversation can’t be underestimated. Over recent months, the union has been able to respond to some basic member queries over social media almost instantaneously, and at just about any time. What’s more, other members are able to see these questions answered in real time, and contribute to the conversation themselves. Perhaps just as importantly though, the IEU’s use of Facebook and Twitter allows us to also engage with potential new members, as well as the media and wider community. The union is able to use these platforms to communicate its messages to the general population quickly and easily. These platforms allow us to more easily share video and photo content with members, which is arguably
where the ‘social’ component of social media comes into its own. During the recent Victorian Teachers Games, for example, we were able to upload and tag IEU members in photos during the course of the day, allowing participants to see what was happening and share in the fun online. However, the great value in the union’s use of social media in recent months is that it has allowed members to know that they are not alone, that they have the same interests and concerns as other members, and that they are part of something bigger than just what’s happening in their own schools. In the face of some incredible intimidation from some quarters in the lead-up to our protest on 5 September, members from across Victoria and Tasmania, from all sectors, were able to encourage and support one another in their decision to take part in protest action. There is no doubt that this interaction was a contributing factor in seeing 4,000 members meet at the royal Exhibition Building and march to Parliament. Facebook and Twitter may not be every member’s cup of tea, and they can never replace other ways of interacting, but they’re increasingly becoming an important part of the IEU’s communications arsenal. If you’re not already following us and you’d like to see what all the fuss is about, you can find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ieuvictas or on twitter at www.twitter.com/ieunews
studEnt numbErs rEaCh nEw hEIghts
The IEU offers free membership to student teachers as a lead-in to becoming full members when they take up teaching positions. 2012 has produced a bumper crop of new members with 1,505 students joining up to the start of September (compared to 1,147 last year and 991 the year before). Our PD in the Pub program with Glen Pearsall and our CV writing and interview skills courses have been very popular and we do presentations at all the Dip Ed courses. At this year’s Education Show many Dip Ed students stopped at our stall and joined up. Thanks to reps for the great work you do in schools introducing student teachers to the union and explaining our role: providing Professional Development, support and professional representation to new teachers. A great outcome for the future strength of the IEU!
Record IEU membership growth
It seemed as if every time CECV Director Stephen Elder sent out another inflammatory bulletin to Catholic schools over the last few months, it was followed by a spike in new members joining the union. In that respect at least, the IEU owes the CECV a debt of gratitude.
n the last three months, our union has grown by well in excess of 1,000 members, as organisers spend more time visiting schools, sub-branch reps have increased activity in schools and held more meetings, and communication with potential members has stepped up. An increasing number of reps are reporting to the union that they are reaching 100 per cent membership at their schools. It’s natural that, in periods of very public campaigning by the IEU, potential members increasingly become aware of the work union members do to improve wages, conditions and safety in our schools. IEU members
know that the larger the union is, the stronger it is and the more able we are to take on very wellresourced employers. While much of the IEU’s recent ‘growth spurt’ has been directly related to increased activity in Victorian Catholic schools, independent schools across the state have experienced healthy recruitment, with hundreds of new members signed up. In addition, the IEU is now beginning a targeted recruitment campaign in key independent schools, to strengthen the union’s on the ground presence and ultimately to be better positioned to continue achieving strong outcomes for members.
THE POINT October 2012
News from the president
In the final week of last term I was privileged to attend the joint australian Primary Principals association/New Zealand Principals Federation Conference in melbourne.
he main speakers included Tony Cook, Associate Secretary, Schools and Youth, Australian Government DEEWr, Professor Kishore mahbubani, National University of Singapore, Professor Andy Hargreaves, Boston College USA, Pasi Sahlberg, Director General of the Centre for International mobility and Cooperation in Finland and Yong Zhao, Presidential Chair and Associate Dean for Global Education, University of Oregon USA. Tony’s presentation affirmed the role of policy makers and educators as part of a global education community in pursuing far-sighted reform, innovation and international best practice to ensure the children in our classrooms today have the skills to survive and thrive in the world of tomorrow. Tony stressed that national and international evidence shows that teacher quality is the single most important in-school factor influencing student achievement. Kishore argued that we have come full circle. Europe represents the past. Asia represents the future – yet the mental maps of our educators remain mired in the past. He believes young children in Australia and New Zealand are not being well-prepared for the future and that primary students should learn at least one Asian language: mandarin or Hindi, Bahasa Indonesian or Vietnamese, in order to open cultural vistas and teach cultural sensitivities. Professor Andy Hargreaves discusssed ill-informed strategies to improve the quality of teaching that are driven by the interests and perspectives of short-term ‘Business Capital’. He argued that ‘Professional Capital,’ where professional educational institutions - from universities to education authorities to Unions and Associations, worked closely together, with a strong research base, professional experience and knowledge to demand that teachers and schools be treated with the respect they are due. With collaborative capacity and appropriate, long term resourcing, student outcomes were more likely to improve than with short term, political or business fixes of such already disproven strategies as national standards, national
testing, performance pay and league tables. Pasi stated that public schooling was in crisis. Competition, choice, standardized testing, and privatisation of public schools had become common tactics to improve educational performance. Pasi argued that there was an alternative way to transform education systems and boost learning for all students. Better equity, teacher professionalism, collaborative practice, and trustbased responsibility, where schools lacked external inspection, pre-scribed curricula, high-stakes testing, punitive accountability, or race-to-the-top mentality, actually improved learning for all. The transformation of education systems was not only possible but inevitable if education policies were driven by equity instead of choice, professional development instead of accountability, and pedagogy instead of technology. Yong asserted that the world needed creative and entrepreneurial talents – people globally competent to take advantage of the opportunities brought about by technology and globalisation and able to tackle the tough life challenges. Schools being pushed to produce homogenous, compliant, and employee-minded test-takers under the traditional education paradigm was counter-productive to this end. Yong asserted a new paradigm, one aimed at cultivating diverse, creative, and entrepreneurial talents, was necessary. It became clear to me as I listened and reflected on each of these authoritative education thinkers, that the frustrations we have felt for years in knowing our government authorities have little idea about what is happening in schools, what should be happening to improve teacher quality and what should be happening to improve student learning – is not just an Australian phenomenon. Living and teaching in culturally diverse, constantly changing communities, then criticizing us for not achieving standardised results with fewer resources, shows how little decision makers really know about learning and the challenges we as professionals face each day ….and mostly with a great degree of success.
Bob Brown from Good Samaritan School, Roxburgh Park
from the principals’ officer
The australian Primary Principals association (aPPa) is the national professional association for primary school principals in australia. aPPa represents affiliated states and territory Government, Catholic and Independent primary schools across the nation and has over 7000 members.
PPA is the national voice on national issues and speaks directly to the Federal Government on matters that concern school principals and school communities. The IEU Victoria Tasmania is proud to be the Victorian affiliate for Catholic Primary Principal members and is well represented on APPA at an Executive level. The recent APPA Conference held in melbourne, 17-21 September was well attended with over 1450 delegates from Australia and New Zealand congregating to hear a number of renowned keynote speakers such as Yong Zhao, Pasi Sahlberg, Brian Caldwell, Andy Hargreaves and Kishore mahbubani . The conference also offered delegates the opportunity to attend various workshops and to enjoy a number of social activities. If you go to the APPA website at www.appa.asn.au you will find a summary and recording of these presentations. It was really positive to see the many Victorian Catholic Primary Principals attend the APPA Conference and gain exposure to the work of this high profile association. All affiliates were asked to support a resolution urging the government to consult with the profession on the matter of education reform. APPA is also preparing to provide evidence to Government that NAPLAN tests affect the wellbeing of students and that these tests should be stopped for children at the year three level. Our representatives on APPA will keep you further informed about these key issues through regular updates. As our membership of APPA comes through our affiliation of ACPPA (Australian Catholic Primary Principals Association) the IEU was pleased to be able to host a social function for all Catholic Primary Principals from Australia and New Zealand. Over 170 delegates enjoyed the opportunity to meet and socialise at the Woolshed Pub in Docklands on the Tuesday evening. Deb James welcomed all guests to the function, which was a great success and a good way for principals from across the water to meet one another.
Prior to the start of the Conference, there was an opportunity for delegates to participate in a number of school visits. The Catholic sector was well represented in this program and principal members of the following schools are to be congratulated for the manner in which they welcomed guests and hosted tours through their school’s facilities: n Good Samaritan roxburgh Park, pictured above. (Principal, Bob Brown) n St. Brendan’s Flemington (Peter Hayes) n St Joseph’s mernda (Daniel Thomas) n St raphael’s Preston West (mick Bourke) n St Therese’s Essendon (Chris Gleeson) n St Vincent de Paul Strathmore (John Grant) All of the above schools are located in the northern region of melbourne. The tours paired schools so that delegates could see the rich diversity that is present in these communities. As I travelled around, the delegates were full of praise for the way the schools were presented and organised. There was much to celebrate about Catholic Education in the northern region and the wonderful work of staff who do so much to cater for the needs of these unique communities. Please note that the 2013 Conference will not be hosted by APPA but rather the ICP who are the International Confederation of Principals. This Conference will be held in Cairns from June 29-July 4 and the theme of the Convention is Inspiring Global Leadership. The ICP committee is developing an exciting and stimulating program that will cover important aspects of leadership, embracing global concerns. The program will focus on three key areas: n Futures n Change n Sustainability Local and International renowned speakers have been confirmed. Visit the convention website at www.icp2013.org for the latest information.
October 2012 THE POINT
Industrial enterprise agreement
leaving your joB
The IEU is well prepared to commence bargaining for a new Enterprise agreement for all employees in Catholic education in Tasmania.
how muCh notICE must I gIVE?
Tasmanian Catholic sector bargaining
eedback from the Draft Log of Claims that was distributed to reps towards the end of Term 2 was overwhelmingly positive. many sub-branches met to look at the Draft claim in detail and from that process some suggestions for further additions, minor amendments and tweaking came through. We have worked through all of these matters and the final Log of Claims is now imminent. This will be distributed to all school reps in early October to ensure that all members will have a copy of the final document. Some specific groups of members such as Laboratory managers, Administrative Staff, TCEO Education Officers, Teacher Assistants, School Counsellors and Beginning teachers made direct input as a group when the IEU requested member input. The significant matters from these groups have been included in the claim as much as is possible. During the next few weeks there will be further consultation with these groups to address these specialised matters in more detail. Some of the issues that came through from specific groups of members are: n School counsellors, social workers and psychologists to be included in the teacher classification scale n Updated classification levels and descriptors for education officers to more accurately
reflect levels of responsibility n A revised classification structure for all school support employees including cleaners to overcome inherent problems in the current structure n Access to a Positions of responsibility structure for administrative, clerical and secretarial staff n Allocation of adequate preparation time for teacher assistants n Access to appropriate professional development opportunities, including relevant trade courses such as welding, carpentry etc. for utility staff n A consistent formula to be developed and used for allocation of hours for class preparation for laboratory managers n School support staff to be employed and paid for 12 months a year (the responsibility to make mortgage payments doesn’t just ‘disappear’ during 10 – 12 weeks of unpaid stand-down time) n A beginning teachers support program to recognise the necessity for time to be allocated to mentoring, support and teacher registration. Expect to hear a lot more during this term and following the preparatory meeting to be held with the Tasmanian Catholic Education Office in mid-October.
The rules of resignation
When members start thinking about greener pastures and make decisions to move jobs or leave the profession, the most common query we receive at the Union office is about notice.
otice of resignation should be given in writing and should specify a date chosen by the employee. While it can be helpful to give your employer as much notice as possible, it should only be given once you have made a definite decision to move on, or after you have received written confirmation of a new appointment. Occasionally, members tell us that their employer won’t let them resign because they have not given enough notice. Of course you can negotiate a mutually suitable date, but the reality is that it is up to the employee to determine the date they choose to resign. However, there may be a financial consequence if the minimum amount of notice is not given, as generally the failure to give it can permit the employer to withhold pay or monies owing to the resigning employee, up to a specified amount. the starting point for working out the minimum notice you have to give to avoid being penalised is to determine what industrial instrument covers your employment, if any. The amount of notice will depend on whether you are covered by an enterprise agreement, a modern Award or the National Employment Standards. In each case the number of weeks’ notice you are required to give, and what can apply if you fail to give the required amount of notice, can vary. Employees may also have a notice provision set out in a common law contract and this may apply even if their employment is subject to one of the instruments above. once you have sorted out which industrial instrument applies to you the next step is to find out whether there is a specific notice provision that applies to your category of employment. The amount of notice required can vary depending on what your job is. Teachers, education support staff, Catholic Education Office employees and principals can all have different minimum notice requirements.
other things may affect the amount of notice required For some employees the period of employment may influence the amount of notice required and if you are still in the minimum employment period/ probationary period the amount of notice may also be different, usually less. If you are on a specified term contract, you are only required to give notice if you are intending to resign prior to the end of the contract. Finding the answer to what seems to be a simple question can be quite complex. The best thing to do is to call the Union office to clarify the specific notice provisions that apply directly to your employment circumstances. here are some sample notice provisions that currently apply: n Tasmanian Catholic Education Agreement 2009 n Teachers: 8 calendar weeks with no more than 2 weeks in a holiday period (A minimum of 4 weeks in probationary period) n School Support Employees: 2 weeks Victorian Catholic Education Multi-Employer Agreement 2008 n Teachers and principals: Pay can be withheld if less than 4 calendar weeks given n School Officers: 1–4 weeks depending on length of service n School Services Officers: 1–4 weeks depending on length of service n CEO employees: 1–4 weeks depending on length of service n Educational Services (Teachers) Award 2010: 7 term weeks n Educational Services (General Staff) Award 2010: as per NES n NES: 1-4 weeks depending on length of service n Enterprise agreements: To find specific agreements go to: www.ieuvictas.org.au/payconditions/agreements/
whEn unIon powEr = marKEt powEr
UNION POWEr harnesses ‘market power’ to provide practical cost-of-living benefits to Tasmanian union members and their families. Join up now!
nion Power is a group-purchasing service established by peak body, Unions Tasmania, to negotiate ‘bulk buy’ discounts for essential, everyday items. By working with affiliated unions—which collectively represent tens of thousands of working Tasmanians—Union Power can negotiate significant discounts for union members that would not otherwise be made available. Union Power will negotiate discounts for: n Electricity; n Petrol and LPG; n Natural Gas; and, n Internet services. n Union Power agents will strike the best price from suppliers, who will be keen to tap into the
customer base that unions provide. When determining supply contracts, factors other than best-price will include ethical corporate behaviour, employment practice, safety records and the level of Tasmanian ownership/employment. The first step in getting this pilot project off the ground is to maximise the number of people who register for Union Power. registration is free, and union members are asked to encourage fellow members to take a few seconds to register. Union Power is all about union members helping each other, and lessening the increasing impacts of cost-of-living pressures. No-one else is going to do it for us. We need to look out for each other. Visit unionstas.com.au for more information.
THE POINT October 2012
Our Pay, Our Fight
I have never missed a stopwork in my 20 years of teaching in Catholic secondary schools. However, this one stirred me more than any other. margaret leahy, sacred heart College Kyneton
As a teacher who has only been teaching for 4 years, I do not agree with ‘performance pay.’ By attending, I not only got to experience an industrial action for the first time, I also, and most importantly, had the chance to show my viewpoint and express my concerns over performance pay. By attending, I also demonstrated my strong support for support staff who in my opinion are underpaid and underappreciated. Without action, there will be no change.
Yesterday was amazing! I was ever so proud to be a part of such a great union.
Kathy Vlahusic, marymede Catholic College south morang
Today was yet again history in the making and we were a part of something really special, though forced upon us! Solidarity is the only way to stay in front and it was indeed a sea of emotion and professionalism on those Parliament steps. Both IEU AND AEU need to be applauded in their delivery of our potent message. Now time will tell, but if we have to keep striking to get the final outcome so be it, I hope our members stay united and strong in our fight for salary justice and team effort. rosa mondio, st bernard’s College Essendon
What a great day! Teachers standing up for what they believe in a major and public way. Congratulations to everyone - so proud to have been there with you all. Eamon spillane, st gabriel’s school reservoir
Teachers and support staff feel undervalued and insulted by the state government’s bonus pay offer. We deserve a just wage. Performance pay just doesn’t work in schools. It takes a collective effort among teachers to improve students’ academic performance. Judith rivers, principal, our lady of the way ps Kingsbury
I support children with special learning needs. I protested for the first time on 5 September to give a voice to my profession.
Thank you to the IEU for always having our backs and fighting the good fight for us hard working and dedicated teachers!
It has been a difficult time for all of us but the unity, motivation and inspiration felt yesterday was well worth it.
October 2012 THE POINT
I caught a bus with 48 other people from Bairnsdale and Sale. I just loved it. I have come back to work today with more energy and a wonderful sense of accomplishment.
‘We felt very proud and strong and united. Our parents and parish priest were very supportive; so it was a monumental day!’
I was really proud to be part of the IEU and support my colleagues from both unions. It was also an excellent outcome that it was the biggest education protest ever in Victoria.
Supporters go social:
faCEbooK: Declan High: I felt proud to walk with my mum yesterday! supporting teachers now, and for the future! Barbara Siddiqui: This is fantastic! So many committed Catholic staff here to let Baillieu know we are strong and determined! Performance pay, no way!!
Great display of solidarity and determination yesterday in the face of threats and dire consequences.
Pauline Richards: I’m not a teacher but as a parent with a child at a Catholic School, I fully support the action taken yesterday. my children’s teachers deserve better!
twIttEr: @richardcranston: Well done to @AEUVictoria, @IEUNews, @maryBluett & Vic teachers for calling loudly today for Baillieu to #keepthepromise @ DamienHurrell: And finally, to the @IEUNews members, I salute you. #vicnurses know what it is to go unprotected: your courage is AWESOmE! #ausunions
THE POINT October 2012
News early career teachers
Quality education needs quality induction We hear a lot about ‘Quality Teaching’ from politicians and employers these days, particularly in terms of its role in the goal of lifting the performance of Australian students to the top of the international league table.
Young Workers 2012
I was lucky enough to represent the IEU at the Victorian Young Workers Conference on 27 and 28 September, along with fellow members Tom and Simon. The conference brought together over 80 young workers from different unions to discuss how we can engage young workers in the union movement. Amy Muratore, member from Mount Lilydale Mercy College, reports.
ver the two days we heard speakers from various organisations address the many issues young workers face in 2012, as well as how we can better ‘frame’ unionism in contemporary times. Themes that recurred were job security, old and new methods of communication and campaigning, and the importance of understanding our history as a labour force to better our future. We broke into groups to discuss and share ideas on how to motivate young workers to be engaged and active in their unions, and how unions can better meet the needs of their younger members. We workshopped strategies to help young workers understand how strong unions can better our working conditions and our society
today and in years to come, and developed a list of recommendations to unions to help young members play more of an active role in the movement. We acknowledged how important our relationship and collaboration with older members is, recognising that we need to ‘know our past and own our future’. Overall the conference inspired hope and enthusiasm in why we do what we do, and how we can make that more powerful. ACTU President Ged Kearney closed the conference, reminding us of why it is essential that as a movement we grow and stay strong. Young people are the future of the union movement but those who fought before us are the backbone – so let’s keep working together!
could you live on $35 a day?
What do the ACTU, Catholic Social Services, the Business Council of Australia and the Greens have in common? Not much! However all these groups believe that the Newstart Allowance - which only provides $35 a day income support to single unemployed people – needs to be significantly increased.
nlike all other Pensions and Benefits, Newstart Allowance has not been increased since 1994 and the low payment is a huge factor in creating poverty in Australia. IEU members in schools see first-hand the difficulties facing children from families dependent on Newstart. Business organisations are now saying the low rate of Newstart is an impediment to getting unemployed people back to work – of the 575,000 Australians who receive the allowance 60% have been unemployed for more than 12 months. People can’t afford to even get to job interviews, let alone buy clothes to present well or pay for a haircut. ‘People cannot live on $35 a day… Entrenching them into poverty is not a pathway back into employment.’ Jennifer Westacott, Chief Executive, Business Council of Australia. The Australian Council of Social Services has been campaigning to lift Newstart to $50 a day and to bring in ongoing indexation of Newstart – they say the $132 gap between Newstart and the Pensions is unjustified. The fear of being moved onto a lower Newstart allowance prevents many disability pensioners from seeking paid work.
A Senate Inquiry into Newstart has been initiated by the Greens and will hand down its findings on 29 November – now is the time for you to contact your member of Parliament in support of lifting Newstart rates – it should be a budget priority. The ACTU submission to the Senate Inquiry proposes $50 a day payments and also says allowing Newstart recipients to work for 3 hours at the minimum wage without losing any Newstart allowance will encourage people into paid employment without a penalty. The submission of Catholic Social Services Australia sums up the moral angle to this issue well. ‘Unemployment payments are not a charitable gift. They are not something that puts unemployed people in debt to the rest of the community or that gives political leaders and administrators an excuse to treat people as non-citizens. When Australians find themselves unemployed, they should be entitled to adequate levels of income support and should be able to seek support as equals without giving up their dignity.’ You can find fact sheets and contacts at the ACOSS web site – www.acoss.org.au
s any farmer will tell you, however, ‘quality’ just doesn’t ‘grow on trees’, so to speak. Quality produce requires significant investment in scientific research, a good deal of know-how and hard work, top nutrients and a drop or two of water. Ensuring quality teaching starts with quality teacher preservice programs and moves on to quality induction. It’s well and truly time for schools to invest in quality induction. While we have many very good programs running in schools, there is still a significant number of schools who overload beginning teachers with responsibilities and expectations, without providing the support now generally viewed as essential. Does your school give beginning teachers a reduced teaching load and a mentor? Does your school support mentors by time release? If not – it’s about time for them to do the right thing! what is good induction? The IEU believes that the structured and resourced induction of those new to the teaching profession is integral to the quality assurance processes in any school and system. A more structured approach to a beginning teacher’s experience can be achieved by a better combination of time release and effective mentoring. In ‘best practice’ models, induction roles and responsibilities are clearly outlined and formally linked to professional development and collaborative skill review. In general, school induction programs should provide a variety of forms of assistance to the beginning teacher. These should supplement the beginning teacher’s background knowledge with information of a specific kind relating to the school and its community. They should also capitalise on the beginning teacher’s previous training, and assist him/ her to deal in a practical way with classroom management, curriculum planning, teaching method, and other facets such as administration procedures of the beginning teacher’s teaching. Further to this, the IEU supports clear guidelines and processes at the system and school levels for inductees. They should include: n The development and
resourcing an induction program for beginning teachers; n The designation of a particular staff member as a co-ordinator of induction in the school with appropriate time release; n Establishing general principles concerning the roles and responsibilities of the inductee and support teacher or mentor; n Access for the inductee and mentor to appropriate professional development activities; n The entitlement of the beginning teacher to a lighter load to ensure appropriate time for consultation and advice; n The provision of adequate time release for both the inductee and any colleague involved in the induction process; n Access for the beginning teacher to counselling services without any reference to professional competence at this entry level point of career; n Organisational information such as school policy, expectations, and with responsibilities made explicit; n Guidance and advice on useful professional development such as teacher unionism, professional associations, in-servicing and other learning opportunities; and n regular review of the induction program’s effectiveness. The school should also protect the beginning teacher from unreasonable demands, encourage and respect the beginning teacher’s style, and strengthen the beginning teacher’s confidence and satisfaction in their work. Entitlements to induction should be provided for in industrial agreements, so that appropriate monitoring, accountability, and implementation can be ensured. The IEU is opposed to any form of probationary employment, contractual arrangements or induction processes that are linked to punitive or formal due process. Beginning teachers need to experience a supportive work environment without feeling vulnerable about employment security. If you have concerns about the lack of support for beginning teachers in your school, speak with the IEU rep in your school and contact your IEU organiser.
October 2012 THE POINT
School staff often feel threatened by the obligation to be there for kids. much is made of the ‘non-delegable duty of care’. are the legal responsibilities of school staff to supervise students really so onerous? It’s important that all IEU members understand their ‘duty of care’ when supervising students.
when does the duty apply? Some schools would have you believe you need to be watching kids in your sleep. The duty is actually an obligation on the school. You only have responsibilities when you are performing your duties as a teacher. This might stretch to watching your kids further down the street. While it may extend to monitoring kids down the road from school on a school day, it most certainly doesn’t impose any obligation on you when you are away from work (on leave, on strike, out of hours). different levels of obligation The ‘duty of care’ requires teachers to take all reasonable measures to ensure the safety of students under their care. Education support staff are generally not professionally trained for the management of groups of students, but are expected to act ‘reasonably’ to protect those they are supervising. How these obligations translate into appropriate steps to take in particular circumstances can be very vague. the legal obligation - what is ‘reasonable’? Courts have frequently found schools to have breached their obligations. It’s very rare for a staff member to be individually liable. Courts have repeatedly used words like ‘The school must take such measures as are reasonable in the circumstances to protect a student from risk of harm that should have reasonably foreseen.’ So ask yourself: n What would a ‘reasonable person’ do in the circumstances? and n What harm is ‘reasonably foreseeable’? Yard duty hints n Keep a roving eye n report every incident n Don’t participate in schoolyard activities when you should be supervising n raise every instance where relief doesn’t arrive in writing
fights There is a general duty of care to prevent injuries, but you may not be required to physically intervene. VCAT has found that a failure to intervene did not constitute ‘serious incompetence’ and reinstated a teacher’s registration. Again, it will depend on what is ‘reasonable’ in the circumstances, like: the age of the students, their physical size, your size, whether the student(s) are armed, whether intervention is likely to be futile or may endanger you. Incidentally, an intervention which would endanger you is probably a breach of your duty under the occupational health and safety legislation to take reasonable care for your own safety. what is your obligation when the yard-duty relief doesn’t show up? Schools tend to say that that staff must stay out on duty. Imagine a court hearing – Would they think your lunch break or the prevention of harm to kids was a greater priority? There are systems in place at some schools that help staff remember when they are on duty, and provide the steps to get a reliever when someone forgets. If the problem is more than occasional, you should document it and insist the school sets up a system to ensure that relief is available. You have a legal right to a lunch break and, while you might accept a shorter break on the odd occasion, a systematic failure to ensure you get your break exposes the school to penalties. being sued It’s extremely rare for school staff to be sued over supervision, let alone found negligent. Normally an aggrieved parent will sue the school, not least because, if found negligent, they are more likely to have the resources to pay damages. If sued, staff will normally be indemnified by their school. Failing that, if your IEU membership is up-to-date, our professional indemnity insurance should cover it. members can obtain more information on this from their organiser at the IEU.
Two weeks for wellbeing: challenging injustice at the Catholic Education Office melbourne
Spare a thought for many of your colleagues working in the Catholic Education Office melbourne. Not all the disputes the IEU is called upon to assist with happen on school grounds.
n recent times these members have raised questions about three important issues impacting on their working lives. most of our school-based members would never face such experiences. Staff currently on 4 weeks annual leave mUST take two of those weeks as part of office shut down in the first two weeks of January. In effect this gives those staff two weeks discretionary leave for the remainder of the year (11 months). Our members rightly claim this change has had a significant impact on their working and personal lives.
But that’s not all. In addition these members are finding it increasingly difficult to access their professional learning leave. Granting of such leave often requires more than four sign-offs, and often approval takes so long, the opportunity to attend the professional development has passed. members certainly acknowledge that the dollar amount they have access to is fine, but it is of little value when timelines for cheap flights and early bird registrations are missed. Approval is sometimes
granted to only one member of a team. This stands in stark contrast to what is accepted as key principles of effective learning. members are keen to point out that the hold ups are not at their local level. And there is more. Capacity to claim overtime is seriously limited. most staff were not aware of the applicable policy called ‘Extraordinary Compensatory Time’ which by its very title would not be encouraging! The option is not to be initiated by the staff member themselves.
At present the union is working with members and reps to address these issues. most recently the matters had to be taken to Fair Work Australia due to the serious lack of progress of discussions with CEOm senior management. FWA directed that meetings take place within a two week period of the hearing. many members will be aware of, highly value, and in fact sometimes be dependent on the outstanding work of CEOm-based staff. So as these issues are worked through, please ensure they know how much you value their work.
THE POINT August 2012
News St Brigid’s College, Horsham
historic st john’s
A visit to St John’s Church reveals the small but energetic St John’s Catholic School sitting just in front of the church.
Nothing signifies spring quite like the bright yellow of canola crops in full bloom and this is what greeted IEU Organisers on their recent visit to the Wimmera and surrounds.
embers in Ararat, Stawell, Horsham, Hopetoun, Warracknabeal, murtoa, Nhill, Charleton, Donald, Ballarat and St Arnaud were visited during a week-long roadtrip through the region by three IEU staff David Forbes (Principals’ Officer), mark mitchell and Kylie Busk. members were keen to hear details of the current situation in Catholic bargaining as well as be updated on the state of play in government sector negotiations. With negotiations about to commence for a new
Lutheran Agreement, staff in these schools were keen to understand more about the process. A trip to this region is a great reminder of the tyranny of distance faced by our members, especially in accessing services such as professional development. This is one of the reasons for development of online access to many of our conferences and PD sessions. We thank all staff who made us feel so welcome during our recent visits. There is nothing like a long drive along the Western Highway to make you appreciate a nice hot cuppa and a friendly face.
uilt in 1835, St John’s richmond is the oldest Catholic Church in Australia, in a very picturesque part of southern Tasmania. St John’s Catholic School was established in the ‘old’ school house adjacent to the Church in 1843. The school started in just two rooms with twenty pupils and by 1846, numbers had increased to thirty. The school population has grown from around 100 in the early 80’s to over 280 in 2011, and with continuing development in richmond and surrounding districts, further growth is expected. The school moved to its present location, still within the parish and school grounds, in 1925. The richmond Catholic parish is geographically large. St John’s provides a Catholic education
for students from Cambridge, Campania, Colebrook, Dunalley, Forcett, Lewisham, midway Point, murdunna, richmond, Seven mile Beach, Orielton, Penna and Sorell: almost 80% ‘bussed-in’. On the day the union visited, staff had organised a period dress day to consolidate a history course students had been studying. It proved very popular as students cooked scones and wrote with quills, and students and staff were happy to don period costume. Jeremy Oliver, Tasmanian Council Executive member of the IEU, is a staff member at the school and, although he was not in costume on this day, according to other members at the school he has been known to put on a dress and run across the school oval for charity events!
The sub-branch on safety
It is critical that employees and workers are represented in workplace health and safety matters. To ensure hazards are identified and eliminated, it is important for employers and employees to exchange information and ideas about the risks to health and safety, and ways to eliminate or reduce those risks. You are entitled, and should be encouraged by your employer or the person in control of your workplace, to elect a health and safety representative to speak on behalf of others at work in relation to hazards at work.
he first step in this process is to decide on how many designated work groups (DWGs) there will be in your workplace. Usually, in a primary school there is one DWG covering all staff. In secondary schools there may be more than one, particularly in regard to multicampus schools. In deciding how many DWGs there will be, it is important to consider the uniqueness of the workplace, the type of work performed, the hours worked by various groups of staff, where people are working and the kinds of hazards they confront. The designated work group is decided by discussion and consultation between the principal and staff. Once the DWG has been established, a health and safety representative may be elected. It is up to the members of the DWG to decide how the election will occur, but all members of the DWG must be given the opportunity to vote. Once elected, a health and safety rep has a variety of powers to be used to represent members of the DWG.
OHS is core IEU business and sub-branches should take an active interest in determining who the health and safety rep will be for their workplace. Consideration should also be given to electing a deputy rep in the event the OHS rep is away from the workplace. While the elected health and safety rep represents everyone in the DWG, union and nonunion members, the sub-branch should do all it can to ensure the OHS rep is an IEU member. The sub-branch is a natural forum to discuss workplace safety issues of concern to members and to communicate those concerns to their elected health and safety reps. The sub-branch should be a place where health and safety issues are regularly and freely discussed, a place where the profile and importance of safety in the workplace can be developed. To ensure co-ordination and support in the election of Health and Safety reps and Deputy reps, please contact your IEU Organiser or Brian martin, IEU OHS Officer.
October 2012 THE POINT
Professional development professional development
PArENTAL LEAVE SEmINAr
s There was much discussion, sharing of stories and support at the IEU Parental Leave Seminar this year. The participants were from Catholic and independent schools and as such there was some variation in the regulation of parental leave in workplaces.
he seminar provides a great opportunity for IEU members to talk about their own issues and importantly for the IEU to hear the experiences of members in schools. While participants clearly understood the process of taking parental leave and the provision of paid/unpaid parental leave, there was much less certainty regarding a return to work from parental leave. Following a period of parental leave, most women want to return to work part-time for a certain amount of time. And while every employee may request a flexible work arrangement, it
doesn’t mean that the school will grant the request. This is where it can get tricky and members may give up at this point. There is often more that can be done and members do need to contact the IEU office and speak to the organiser for their school. most importantly, all members who are taking parental leave need to maintain their IEU membership. To do this simply call the IEU office, tell us you are going on parental leave and want to be made an associate member while on leave. The Associate fee is currently $48 per year. Often, for part of this leave membership is complimentary.
at the ceom
CEOm admin Officers Conference
The IEU was a major sponsor of the Conference in September. It was a terrific opportunity to touch base with our Admin ESS members and discuss their concerns.
ebra James, IEU General Secretary, addressed conference participants about the current state of play in bargaining with Catholic employer representatives, and the particular issues that the IEU wishes to improve on behalf of all education support staff members. It was great to see so many of our members there proudly wearing their IEU t-shirts! We also welcomed some new members
to the union who can add their voice to the call for improvements to wages and the classification structure. Some admin officers expressed an interest in an organiser from the IEU attending their Admin Network meeting. If you would like a presence from the union at your next network get-together, contact Lou Nicholson on 9254 1860 or email@example.com
Conference speaker Rob Gell is a director of World Wind Pty Ltd and has been part of establishing the International College of Environmental Sustainability.
Green Schools Conference
The third annual IEU/AEU Green Schools Conference is coming up on Friday 16 November! The conference brings together principals, teachers and environmental leaders from schools across Victoria in all sectors to engage with experts in the field and other educators who share a passion for sustainability.
ach year the event has been a great success and, from the workshops and speakers on offer this year, it looks like another inspiring and informative day where the broad environmental issues facing us as a community and the way schools can play a part through curriculum, sustainable practices and social awareness will be examined. Speakers this year include popular environmental advocate and former TV weather presenter rob Gell, Catholic Education Office Sandhurst Sustainability Officer Paul Dullard and Jason Kimberley who will present Cool Australia’s online resource which
brings sustainability and our environment into the classroom. There is also a range of workshops to choose from with involvement from both secondary and primary schools. Participants will be provided with a plethora of great ideas and approaches to take back to school and put into action! The IEU/AEU Green Schools Conference has a ‘members First’ policy. So get in early, as places will fill fast. A promotional poster has been sent to all schools and can also be viewed on the union website at www.ieuvictas.org.au registration is online, so to join in, go to www.tln.org.au/greenschools
tln: ONLINE PD FOR ALL STAFF IN YOUR SCHOOL The Teacher Learning Network is the not-for-profit professional development provider supported by the IEU Victoria Tasmania.
ver 700 Victorian Schools are members of the TLN and receive copies of the TLN journal three times a year, discounts on face-to-face PD, support in arranging in-house PD, discounts on books published by TLN, access to members-only content on our website, and free attendance at online professional development sessions. Courses that will run in term 4 include: n Inquiry in Action, 25 October 4.00pm–6.00pm n Co-operative Learning, 1 November 4.00pm–6.00pm n Restorative Behaviour Management in the Classroom, 8 November 4.00pm–6.00pm
n Motivating Students with Jo Lange, 15 November 4.00pm–6.00pm n Behaviour Change in Difficult Colleagues, 22 November 4.00pm-6.00pm n Interactive Whiteboard, 29 November 4.00pm–6.00pm n hearing Every Voice, 16 December 4.00pm–6.00pm All these courses (and more) are available at no cost for staff from TLN member schools. Check if your school is a member at http://tln.org.au If your school is not yet a member you can also apply to join on the TLN website or call the Teacher Learning Network on 9418 4992.
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October 2012 THE POINT
IEU awards learn and share
Start your applications now for the annual $3,000 IEU awards
Every year members are invited to apply for awards to assist the realisation of ambitious, worthy projects that benefit individuals and the collective. applications for both awards are due on Friday 2 November 2012.
Barry Wood Memorial Social Justice Grant:
send your application to: Selection Committee, Barry Wood Memorial Social Justice Grant or Jan Bavinton Memorial Project IEU Victoria Tasmania, PO Box 1320 South Melbourne 3205 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This grant is made in memory of Barry Wood, an outstanding educator, unionist and social justice advocate, and is open to all IEU Victoria Tasmania members with an interest in social justice issues in their schools. The award of $3,000 will assist the recipient of the grant to undertake a project either as an individual, a member of a group, or school, in promoting social justice in education. The money can be used for costs associated with the nominated project such as fees, travel or leave if paid leave is not available. Past nominations for this grant have included projects aimed at: n establishing a student-based social justice committee
n schools establishing links with overseas schools to support their development n developing a peace education program in a school n building a student website for social justice issues The selection committee’s decision will be based on: 1. The project’s interest and relevance to IEU Victoria Tasmania members. 2. Applicants need to outline their long-standing commitment to social justice education issues. 3. The project should not only further the applicant’s own social justice aims, but should have the potential to be a resource with a wider application to the promotion of social justice education.
Jan Bavinton Memorial project: Each year, IEU Victoria Tasmania awards up to $3,000 to assist an ESS member undertake a Professional Development project. The money can be used for the costs associated with a nominated project, such as fees, travel or leave. The Jan Bavinton memorial Project was established in 1989 in recognition of the contribution made to her profession and her union (VATIS) by Jan Bavinton, the Lab manager at Carey Grammar School. Following her death, the Jan Bavinton memorial Project was established to acknowledge the professionalism, commitment and excellence of support staff in independent schools. All Education Support Staff from the nongovernment sector are eligible.
Applicants should be engaged in a project, or ongoing work that could be developed into a resource for other ESS staff, of interest and relevance to IEU members. Applicants need to create a short proposal of no more than two pages. The project may include research, related travel, study or other forms of PD. Applicants must be: n a financial IEU Victoria Tasmania member, and n a School Officer/School Services Officer; or a School Assistant; or a Clerical or Administrative employee. The successful applicant should be intending to continue work in the non-government sector for at least a year following the project and must report to IEU Victoria Tasmania within 2 months of the completion of the project.
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October 2012 THE POINT
National and International Education natIon In Queensland, over 3,500 Catholic school employees from across the state took strike action on 6 September, demanding employers treat them with professional respect, and recognise the expanding demands placed on staff in Catholic schools. members gathered at mass meetings in over a dozen major centres across Queensland, sending a strong message to Catholic employers right across the state. During these meetings, members unanimously endorsed formal resolutions calling on employers to respond to issues in a way which shows an understanding of the expanding role of staff, and also shows respect for staff professionalism and effectiveness. Over 160 Queensland Catholic schools were affected by the strike action because of the continued refusal by Catholic school employers to listen to their employees and negotiate meaningfully on outstanding concerns.
The IEU in New South Wales will call a state-wide day of protest if the O’Farrell Government does not withdraw its attack on Catholic and independent schools. IEU General Secretary John Quessy is requesting a meeting with NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell to urge him to reconsider his Government’s planned cuts to non-government schools, which the IEU says would result in mass redundancies in NSW Catholic and independent schools, larger class sizes, fee increases and a reduced ability to cater for students with additional needs. ‘If the O’Farrell Government persists with this absolute attack on our schools and members, we will not hesitate in holding a state-wide day of protest, involving the whole non-government school community. This will go ahead early next term and, in the meantime, we are urging our teachers, principals, support staff and all families with students in nongovernment schools to lobby Premier O’Farrell to overturn this attack.’
Chicago teachers defend their strike, win major concessions
International nEws Education staff in Kenya have been on strike since 3 September in support of claims made to the government around decent wages and the payment of allowances. Teachers and their unions are seeking the harmonisation of their salaries to those of other civil servants, 300% salary increments for all teachers, and the implementation of the agreement on teachers’ allowances, to which the Government committed in 1997. Instead of entering into negotiations, the government has instead attempted to force striking teachers to resume work by threatening them with dismissals, disciplinary measures, suspensions of their salaries and allowances, and cancellation of the deduction of union dues. In the USA, the Chicago Teachers’ Union has finally entered into negotiations with the city’s administration after a successful strike in early September. Teachers returned to work after the union’s recommendation that they accept a negotiated agreement, ending over a week of school closures. Around 6,000 teachers were facing potential dismissal due to changes that would have held them accountable for students’ standardised test scores, which together with issues including hours of work, school closures and pay freezes, triggered the largest US education strike in 25 years. Over 90% of members voted for strike action. The union has maintained that the strike was not simply about pay increases, but also respect for the profession. The Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, reneged on an agreed pay increase for teachers after taking office, and has since tried to introduce reforms including lengthening the school day, actions which have angered teachers and the union. Emanuel attempted to get the strike declared illegal to force teachers back to work, but parties reached a settlement before the legality could be tested. The strike only occurred after several
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failed negotiation attempts and was overwhelmingly supported by parents and the community. The strike has threatened to become a national issue in election year, with Mayor Emanuel a former Obama staffer, and Mitt Romney criticising both the union and Obama’s support of it. The teacher union in Slovakia called a one-day strike in midSeptember in response to the government’s education budget and future plan for education. There are calls for the government to increase education funding to a level comparable with other EU countries, and the union is also demanding an increase in the real wages of teaching and support staff, and a revision of remuneration so that teaching staff’s pay will reach between 120 and 200 per cent of the average Slovakian wage. In early September, over 10,000 people took to the streets in Brazil to demand the strengthening of public education through the approval of the National Plan for Education, which is currently being considered by the government. The key points of the Plan are the investment into education of 10% of GDP, and the establishment and enforcement of a minimum wage for education professionals. Other demands being made by the teaching profession include recognition of teaching as a professional career, and the standardisation of the working day. And finally, what’s in a name? School officials in Grand Island, Nebraska, USA, have told local student Hunter Spanjer that the way he uses sign language to ‘spell’ his name violates the school’s antiweapons policy. Hunter is three years old, deaf, fluent in Signing Exact English, and uses a hand gesture as his unique signature. Officials say the flourish looks like Hunter is threatening with a weapon and that he’ll have to stop using it. Can’t be too careful with the loaded index finger of a three year-old…
Three thousand teachers, support staff and principals from around the state descended on Ballarat in the first week of the holidays for the 2012 Victorian Teachers Games. The IEU was at the Games for the third year running, and it was fantastic to see hundreds of IEU members competing in more than twenty events.
IEU staff greeted members with t-shirts, drinks cards and other essential sporting accessories at the registration desk, where 10 new members joined up. results are still coming in, but congratulations to IEU members: n Leah Telling, gold in the clay shooting n The beach volleyball team from Holy Name, Preston East, who took out gold n Carmina Capper, silver in the 12km run n Anna Patterson and Chris Wilson, who won silver in novice shooting events n The teams from Trinity College Colac who took out both gold and bronze in the “AmAZEing Ballarat” event n The South Gippsland Allsorts, bronze in
Check out more great photos from the Games at: http://tinyurl.com/ieugames2012
intermediate women’s netball n The St Francis Xavier Berwick team whose superb trivia efforts won bronze. members were also active off the field in the friendly atmosphere of local venues. Our social highlight was the IEU members’ event at The George Hotel, where around 60 IEU members swapped sporting stories over a few drinks. Among the crowd were members Alexandra and Justin (from mater Christi and St Bede’s), who met at the Games four years ago and have just celebrated their third wedding anniversary! The Games will return to Ballarat in 2013 – so if you are keen to participate, stay tuned for more info!