SSTUWA structure

The SSTUWA, which was founded in 1898, has more than 17,000 members making it one of the largest public sector unions, and one of the oldest white collar unions, in Western Australia.

The foundation of the SSTUWA is you – the membership.

SSTUWA election process

Union officials

The SSTUWA’s senior officers are:

President: Pat Byrne

Senior Vice President: Paul Bridge

Acting Vice President: Natalie Blewitt

General Secretary: Mary Franklyn

Senior officers are elected by members and lead the SSTUWA’s advocacy and lobbying processes, developing and implementing policy under the guidance of member elected union delegates at State Council and Executive.


Executive consists of the SSTUWA president, senior vice president, vice president, and such other number of additional members to be know as ordinary members, as determined from time to time by State Council.

Executive is responsible for the management of union business. Executive decisions are guided by union policy which is set at State Council.

Union rep and branch officials

Each year, SSTUWA members elect officials to head their worksite’s union branch. These positions include: union rep, deputy union rep, treasurer, secretary, District Council delegate and women’s contact officer.

Union rep

Union representatives are school based union delegates. The representatives are elected by SSTUWA members based at the school. The union representative is the main contact between the union office and the members.

The union representative has a range of duties, including recruiting new members, distributing materials, informing and educating members and dealing with any union award/agreement/regulation concerns. If advice is required the union representative contacts Member Assist. The union representative is also a member of the school grievance committee.

Every year the SSTUWA runs training courses for union representatives to assist them in their role.

Deputy union rep

The deputy union rep assists the union rep to negotiate issues with management and assists with conflict resolution.


The treasurer is responsible for claiming branch operating expenses. They should complete the branch financial return.


The secretary records the items discussed at a branch meeting and the outcomes/actions agreed to be taken by the branch.

District Council delegate

The District Council delegate represents the branch at District Council meetings.

Women’s contact officer

The women’s contact officer works in conjunction with the union representative to encourage women’s involvement in union structures, disseminates information about women’s issues and gender equity, promotes women’s issues, and provides opportunities for women’s voices to be heard.

State Council delegates

Any member may nominate as a delegate to State Council. Such delegates represent the district. Nominations are called for in the January/February edition of Western Teacher and remain open for at least 28 days.

Branches are not required to endorse nominations; however, it is in the interests of the branches to encourage members of their branch to nominate to ensure the branch views are heard.

Branches may forward motions to State Council. Closing dates for motions to State Council are determined by Executive and published in the Western Teacher.

Branch District Council/training

Each SSTUWA branch/worksite within a district shall be entitled to be represented at District Council.

District Council is held in each district at least twice per year as determined by Executive (usually during Term One and Term Three). Dates are announced via SSTUWA communications.

Nominations for District Council are included on the branch office bearers nomination form which is posted out to each branch/worksite at the beginning of the year.

Applicable State School Teachers’ Union of WA rules:

Rule 22 Districts/District Council

(b) District Council

(v) The branch alternate delegate shall, as far as is practicable, be a person of the opposite gender to the branch delegate.

(xv) The District Council deputy chairperson shall be of the opposite gender to the District Council chairperson provided that where no nominations for the position of District Council deputy chairperson are received from a member of the opposite gender to the District Council chairperson, a member of the same gender may be elected.

State Council

The governing body of the SSTUWA is State Council which meets twice a year. Information for nominating to attend State Council as a delegate is included in SSTUWA communications at the beginning of each year.

Applicable State School Teachers’ Union of WA rules:

Rule 23 State Council

(a) Rules

(v) Where sufficient nominations from women financial members have been received, at least 50% of the delegates from each district to State Council shall be women.

(vi) Where fewer than the number of nominations required to enable subrule (a)(v), above, to be complied with, are received from women, any woman who so nominated shall be declared elected, and a ballot conducted to fill the remaining vacant position or positions.

(ix) Should nominations of delegates to State Council exceed the number of delegates to which the district is entitled, the Returning Officer shall conduct a ballot of all financial members in the district to determine district representation.

To attain gender balance in the district representation the Returning Officer shall, at the conclusion of the ballot, declare the highest polling women candidates elected to the number of women delegates required under sub-rule (a)(v) of this rule. The remaining positions shall then be declared in the order of election.

(xi) Where sufficient nominations from women financial members have been received, at least one of the alternate delegates shall be a woman. The Returning Officer, at the conclusion of any ballot for alternate delegates to State Council shall declare the highest polling female and male candidates elected. For the purposes of sub-rule (a)(x) the first alternate delegate shall be the highest polling candidate of the two elected.

(xii) Where no nominations are received from women for an alternative delegate position, nominations shall be reopened for all financial members to fill the designated position.

Updated March 2019