QTU Union Reps Conference sets scene for growth and activism
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 123 No 3, 13 April 2018, p16
360 QTU workplace representatives from across the state came together at the RNA International Convention Centre in Brisbane for the annual Union Reps Conference, titled “Strengthening workplace activism".
This year the conference was focused on building Reps’ skills across a number of industrial and professional processes.
Our first keynote, “A decade of NAPLAN – time to review”, was delivered by Greg Thompson, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education at QUT. Greg outlined the case for a review not only on academic but sound public policy governance grounds.
QTU Vice-President Sam Pidgeon followed with a round up of the current NAPLAN Online campaign and the call for a formal review of NAPLAN nationally being led by Queensland Minister for Education Grace Grace.
The second keynote was delivered by barrister and mediator Ross McSwan, who gave delegates a range of micro-skills for facilitating difficult conversations in the workplace. Ross has extensive experience in mediating between departmental employees, and he reinforced the message that conflict is best managed in the workplace:
- at the earliest opportunity
- in the most informal way
- by the most appropriate person.
QTU General Secretary Graham Moloney provided the QTU context for the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) #ChangeTheRules campaign, including new ways we will approach the industrial and professional challenges facing the Union and our profession.
The afternoon saw QTU officers deliver a workshop on achieving membership growth in each workplace to ensure we continue to grow well beyond 45,000 members, and a workshop on running Union campaigns at the workplace level.
The conference was wrapped up with an interactive quiz, hosted by QTU Deputy General Secretary (Member Services) Kate Ruttiman, testing participants’ knowledge of current industrial entitlements.
To celebrate International Women’s Day, a social function followed the conference at which Brisbane comedian Mel Buttle performed a stand-up comedy show.
The 2018 conference continued the success of previous years, with a large number of delegates providing positive feedback about the program.
The QTU will again be holding a North Queensland Regional Union Reps Conference in Townsville on Friday 27 July. Workplace Reps from Central Queensland, North Queensland and Far North Queensland who are interested in attending should inform their Regional Organiser.
Deputy General Secretary