Regional Union Reps Conference
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 123 No 6, 31 August 2018, page no.17
Following a very successful revival of the North Queensland Union Representatives’ conference in Townsville in 2017, this year’s event was every bit as successful, judging from the feedback of the participants.
Deputy General Secretary Kate Ruttiman opened the conference and organised a number of introductions by New Educators’ Network activists. During the course of the day, a different NEN activist introduced each of the speakers, and they did a great job.
Legal issues for teachers at the workplace
Rachel Drew from Holding Redlich took participants through a range of scenarios which have been dealt with by the QTU’s lawyers over the past few years. This session could best be described as eye-opening - some of the anecdotes were blood-curdling and left participants grateful for the comprehensive legal assistance scheme they have access to via their ongoing financial membership of the QTU.
Associate Professor Greg Thompson from the QUT Faculty of Education provided a thought-provoking and insightful examination of the purpose and use of data in an international, national and state context. His presentation left many delegates questioning the place of NAPLAN in the overall scheme of diagnostic data available to schools in Queensland. Greg also exposed the role of international publishing companies in the perpetuation of NAPLAN and their questionable exploitation of the international education community for the purpose of providing private profit.
QTU response to NAPLAN review
QTU Vice-President Sam Pidgeon followed Greg with a stirring call to action around the issue of NAPLAN, NAPLAN Online and the implications for workload for all QTU members. Sam released the Union’s position statement at the Townsville conference, a fact that was not missed by local TV news.
Some hands-on activities were conducted by QTU Organisers Kelly Creedon, Gill Armit and Paul Waters. Kelly and Gill presented a workshop on conducting a workplace campaign and, following lunch, the three Organisers presented a workshop on Growing the Union – Recruitment and Retention in 2018.
Enforcing the award and certified agreement
Some bread-and-butter issues for school Union Reps were dealt with expertly by Deputy General Secretary, Kate Ruttiman. Delegates were able to participate by indicating where their school stood on a number of issues in the CA, including non-contact time, collegial engagement and many others.
General Secretary Graham Moloney provided a closing address where he summarised the current “State of the Union”, before Deputy General Secretary Brendan Crotty wrapped up the conference by highlighting the issues facing us at a state and federal level in the education arena. President Kevin Bates provided a vote of thanks to conference organisers.