Supporting the independent education community

Support staff speak out

Support staff were prominent in Catholic systemic school stop-work rallies on 27 May and 30 June.

 

In June, hundreds of support staff joined forces with their colleagues from government schools to call for better pay and fairer treatment. Support staff in government schools receive higher rates of pay for the same work as their colleagues in Catholic schools. The IEU is fighting for equal pay for all support staff.

 

Joanne, from St Joseph’s Primary School Schofields, said she attended the rally because support staff needed to catch up with their government school colleagues. “We do the same work at the same level of quality, but we don’t get paid the same, and our employers know it.”

 

George, from De La Salle Caringbah, said “I’m here to get wage justice for support staff. They’ve been undervalued for too long”.

 

Theresa from St Therese’s Primary School Lakemba said “learning support staff want the best for the children, and we are stressed trying to give that support. In Catholic schools we’re not paid equally to support staff in public schools and we want that heard”.

 

IEU Rep at Carroll College Broulee Wayne Foster said “The problem is simple. Our support staff are paid less than their government school counterparts. This is wrong. We call upon our Catholic school employers to fix this problem”.

 

Momentous occasion

 

IEU President Chris Wilkinson said the rallies were “a momentous occasion for members from the two unions to unite and ask for better working conditions, to be paid what we are worth, to give our support staff a better deal and to end the staff shortages that are having a profound effect on workloads”.

 

“What would we do without our amazing support staff? Every day they’re working with our students, keeping the front offices and reception areas a welcoming place for parents, students and visitors, keeping the photocopying machines running, assisting teachers with their every request.

 

“They take care of sick and injured students, answer the never-ending phone calls, and keep our schools in tip-top condition, taking care of the grounds and the daily rubbish run, mowing the lawns and keeping the gardens in pristine condition. They’re always there to change a light bulb or fix the technology that won’t work. They are the backbone of our schools, and they deserve a fair deal and better pay.”

 

What’s next? It’s up to the employers. A meeting between the IEU and employers is due to take place at the end of July.

 

 

 

Read more from our July 2022 edition of Gaining Ground:

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