Union Reps Conference 2021
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 126 No 3, 9 April 2021, page no.17
The 2021 QTU Union Reps Conference was held at the Royal Exhibition Convention Centre in Brisbane on Friday 5 March, with the 400 Union Representatives, Lead Union Representatives and Principal Union Representatives in attendance making it the largest QTU event of the year.
The role of the workplace Union Representative is highly valued and critical to the Union’s success. That’s why this conference, combined with the Union Rep training conducted throughout the state, is valued so highly across the QTU.
The day kicked off with a keynote presentation by newly elected QTU President Cresta Richardson, who emphasised the importance of the Union Rep role. This was followed by a Teachers and the Law presentation by Rachel Drew, Partner at the Union’s lawyers Holding Redlich. This session is always popular and led to a large number of delegate questions, and the feedback will inform our series of legal seminars throughout the remainder of the year.
In the second session, newly elected General Secretary Kate Ruttiman provided an overview of the QTU priorities for 2021 and an insight into the strategic plan and values of the QTU. This was followed by a session by acting Deputy General Secretary Thalia Edmonds demonstrating the Isaac Isaacs model of problem-solving for when parties are in dispute. We will be exploring opportunities to add this model to Union Rep training as part of a revised program in the second half of 2021.
After lunch, participants were taken through a session on leading action on workload, led by Deputy General Secretary Brendan Crotty and newly-elected Vice-President Leah Olsson. This included an interactive poll and table discussions about increasing member engagement and support for our ongoing workload reduction campaign.
The day was capped off with a celebration of some of our longest-serving QTU Reps, who were awarded 20, 25 and 30-year service badges, and a welcome for some of our newest Reps from across the state.
The conference coincided with International Women’s Day celebrations, and a post conference reception was hosted by QTU Women’s Officer Penny Spalding, with special guest speaker Corrina Haythorpe, President of our federal union the Australian Education Union. Correna provided a national and international perspective on this year’s IWD theme “Choose to Challenge”.
As a COVID safe event, lots of logistical planning went into making the day a success, coordinated by our Queensland Teachers’ Education Centre team of Natalie Meyer, Madonna Cullinan and Emma Murray.
Later in 2021 we will be conducting Regional Union Rep Conferences in Rockhampton and Cairns. Keep an eye out for invitations, which will be sent directly to eligible Union Representatives.
If you are interested in taking on the role of Union Rep in your workplace and there is currently a vacant position, contact your Regional Organiser, who will assist you in signing up and accessing training for the role.