Supporting the independent education community

Power of the collective: a message from IEU Vice President Support Staff Carolyn Collins

It is with heartfelt thanks that I acknowledge the participation of school support staff members in the stop work rallies and marches in Sydney and regional areas on 27 May and 30 June.


The pride and gratitude I felt during both rallies was immense. It is a big deal to stop work and strike – none of us want to do it – but we need to stand up and be counted for the injustices in our employment.


We need to keep pushing for a better future, not only for ourselves, but for those who follow us. 


The injustices of lack of pay parity, job insecurity and lack of equal access to long service leave have been on the agenda for 20 years and need to be addressed by our employers now.


It is empowering to know that we, school support staff, have been a part of making history for our union and education in NSW and the ACT. Not only is it historic, but it may mark the beginnings of greater collaboration between unions.


School support staff stood shoulder-to-shoulder with teachers from Catholic schools and NSW Teachers Federation members who teach in government schools. 


It was so positive to see so many young members from both unions taking part in the combined industrial action. We mingled and exchanged banners and t-shirts.


Government school support staff did not take action on the day because they are not in the Teachers Federation, but in the Public Service Association – they took action on 8 June. 


I encourage all school support staff to join the union and do what it takes to advance our campaigns for pay parity, a commitment to sustainable working hours and equity in long service leave. Any benefits gained will be reflected in other sectors of the union, not just Catholic systemic schools.


Individually we lack power and voice in fighting for our rights, but we have power in the collective and strength in unity that can and will bring about meaningful change. 


Employers need to “Hear Our Voice” and offer “More Than Thanks”.


Carolyn Collins, Vice President Support Staff


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Read more from our July 2022 edition of Gaining Ground: