NEWSLETTER SUPPLEMENT TO THE AEU NEWS • JUNE 2011
Baillieu makes us see red
Ted speaks at last — but still has nothing to say that we want to hear. Mary Bluett branch president
IRST the good news. ES membership continues to be the fastest growing section of the AEU. As I write, we have 5,988 ES members, so by the time you read this I am confident that we will have passed the 6000 mark! In your recent AEU Primary and Secondary Sector Newsletters, I reported that the State Government had not yet responded to our log of claims for teachers and principals (other than through the media), despite our log being lodged in December and the requirement that negotiations start no later than March. At the time of writing, no negotiations are scheduled. This does not bode well for our ES log of claims.
I also reported that the premier had failed to respond to the March 18 AEU Council resolution which called on him to honour the Coalition election policy on teacher pay, enter into good faith negotiations and meet the AEU. We have finally received a reply — and there was only bad news. While he noted our resolution, he did not respond to our request for a meeting. His letter states: “Our government recognises the vital role teachers play in the learning and development of young Victorians. I firmly believe Victorian teachers should be acknowledged and rewarded for the important work that they perform in our community.” This is a hollow statement, given that he went on to say:
Our government is committed to achieving bargaining outcomes that will bring about real improvements to education in Victoria. There is no limit on wage outcomes above 2.5% provided bankable productivity savings are identified and delivered to offset the increase. So any salary increase above 2.5% must be matched by equivalent cuts to pay for that increase! With $481 million of cuts to the education budget still to be made, any further “savings” are impossible without cutting staff from schools. The same will apply when we begin our ES negotiations. It is clear that we will need to campaign to force a change in this government policy. ES members, together with teachers
and principals, are urged to protest whenever any Coalition politician visits a government school: • Wear red on the day • Display placards (which can be downloaded from the AEU website) to send a strong message protesting this insulting and unfair policy. This government must honour its election commitments and show respect for the great job education staff do everyday making a difference to our students’ lives and futures. ◆
Are you worried by Baillieu’s cuts? Tell us your story. Email email@example.com.
Government stalls for time Erin Aulich deputy vice president, primary
HE AEU submitted our ES log of claims to the Education Department in February. The department responded by letter saying that bargaining for a new ES agreement does not have to begin until January 2012 and that it is unlikely to start before then. You hardly need reminding that our last negotiations were drawn out well past the end of the old agreement, which of course meant that your pay rises were delayed — saving the department money at your expense. Which is why the AEU is keen to keep the pressure on to avoid it happening again. We would like to start negotiations long before January so that ES members are not kept waiting again. Our ES membership has more than doubled since the last agreement was reached. This is a great achievement and puts us in a strong position for the coming negotiations.
Members old and new will be watching their progress with great expectations, even though the climate is not favourable — particularly after the insulting offer of 2.5% from the Baillieu Government. The current agreement expires on December 1 this year, but our final salary increase is set for April 1, 2012 — so we cannot take any industrial action before then. Our preparations for negotiations were extensive. We consulted widely and we’re confident the log accurately reflects what you want to see in a new agreement. Now we need to work together to achieve it. The March edition of AEU News contained a comprehensive feature on the log and I encourage members to read it, and go to our website (www.aeuvic.asn.au/agreements2011) and view the complete claim for yourself. ◆
A E U h e a d o f f i c e 112 Trenerr y Crescent, Abbotsford 3067 Tel: 03 9417 2822 Fax : 1300 658 078 Web : www.ae u v i c . a s n . a u
Be informed — get active
Training is vital to union effectiveness. Rowena Matcott AEU training officer
O GET the most out of your AEU membership you need to be informed about your industrial entitlements. The AEU offers training to teacher and ES members about these entitlements and how they can be implemented at your school. The union’s training officers organise conferences, training courses, forums and workshops around the state. Workshops on specific issues can also be organised at individual schools. AEU Active: Two-day course August 11–12...................................AEU Abbotsford August 11–12...............................................Bendigo August 25–26............................................ Gippsland August 25–26................................... Bacchus Marsh AEU Active: Special schools two-day course June 2............................................... AEU Abbotsford
Because most issues or problems in schools affect teachers and education support staff, the AEU believes that ES staff need to know not only their conditions of employment but those of teachers, too. The AEU believes that teachers and ES staff working together will strengthen the effectiveness of union sub-branches. Information about the union’s training courses can be found at www.aeuvic.asn.au/training and in the 2011 events calendar pamphlet sent to schools. All courses need to be booked online. For more information call Rhonda Webley on (03) 9418 4844. ◆
AEU Active: One-day course June 10.......................................Sale June 16...........................Craigieburn June 21................................ Geelong July 29........................... Shepparton August 3..........................Abbotsford August 23.............................Berwick
ES Advocates program For more information about this program email firstname.lastname@example.org. August 1–5...................................... AEU Abbotsford October 17–21................................ AEU Abbotsford
Women’s conference — your views
ANY education support staff attended the annual AEU Women’s Conference held in Melbourne last month. The conference, a major event of the union’s year, focused on women’s issues in Australia and around the world and offered workshops aimed at women’s personal and professional development. Feedback from attending ES members was very positive, as the following examples indicate. I enjoyed the conference very much. It was a great chance to meet other AEU members. We had great speakers and catering, as always, was wonderful. I did the Great Applications, Great Interviews workshop and thought it was very much worth attending. — Mahnaz Ziguras, Mount Waverley SC I really enjoyed the conference and would certainly recommend it to other ES staff. I attended
mainly to follow up on the Stephanie Alexander kitchen garden program. However, all of the speakers and workshops were worthwhile. Thanks to all concerned. — Norma Adams, Colac West Primary School We thought it was a fabulous day. We did the Stephanie Alexander workshop alongside a variety of teachers and principals, who were surprised we were there but who welcomed us warmly. We did have trouble booking online, but the lovely Gayle Bernhardt at the AEU helped us through the process. — Lee Pattinson, Neerim District SC and Sue Jenkins, Warragul Regional College. I really enjoyed the conference. It was great! I highly recommend the conference to all ES members. The highlights were: Stephanie Alexander's motivational presentation
on growing, harvesting, preparing and sharing food. This program becomes part of the school's curriculum; where life lessons on cooking, socialising and interacting with others are taught. But more importantly, lessons in literacy and numeracy are taught. For example, reading recipes, poetry about crops, herbs, fruit; and measuring and estimating while cooking. Comedian Nellie made us laugh and take stock of our very busy lives and our own unique, funny ways! Resilience and wellbeing seminar was very refreshing with lots of tips to keep on top of things and to cut the stress out of our demanding lives. Always very motivating to listen to Mary Bluett and other ACTU guest representatives — particularly on women's issues. I look forward to attending next year. — Denise Wood, Williamstown PS ◆
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ES newsletter | june 2011
EduPay’s many questions A round-up of the latest concerns raised by members about the new eduPay system. Kathryn Lewis ES organiser
anY issues have been raised by members about the new eduPay payroll system. As the AEU works through these, a few areas of concern remain. It’s important that you continue to keep us informed of any questions or concerns you have about eduPay so that we can offer advice or take up your concerns with the Education Department. Multiple contracts in one year The AEU is concerned that some schools are employing staff on multiple contracts in a single year. Our view is that schools should in the first instance advertise positions for no less than 12 months, and that anything shorter should be offered only when there is an unexpected shortterm vacancy. Via eduPay, the department also encourages this practice. Our concern is that when employees have multiple rehire dates throughout a year, it has an unexpected impact on their leave at the end of the year. Every time a contract finishes, eduPay pays out your annual leave and salary leave loading entitlements. The sums are correct, but this means you are left with less entitlement at the end of the year. ES members who have had multiple contracts in one year need to take this into account when they are budgeting for the Christmas holidays. Our advice is to encourage schools to hire for a minimum of 12 months. It is possible for schools
to plan their staffing for the year ahead; schools need to be more responsible and consider the impact of this on their ES staff. Classroom-based ES staff should be employed on SSP (student support package) contracts of up to seven years. Long service leave We continue to hear from members who have had their long service leave (LSL) paid out at the end of a contract, even though they had requested otherwise. It is essential that members speak to their HR manager before their contract ends to make their intentions clear about their leave entitlements. If LSL entitlements are paid out by mistake it is important that these employees are not disadvantaged. For further advice call the AEU membership services unit on (03) 9417 2822. Access Another area of concern is the difficulty some ES staff have in finding the time and opportunity to access eduPay during working hours. It is essential that ES staff be allowed time to access their employment information, in privacy and security.
Lab techs forum – June 28 O
UR ES members working as laboratory technicians face unique challenges around legal liability and occupational health and safety. These challenges can be compounded by the fact that there is usually only one lab tech in the school — giving them little opportunity to discuss their concerns or collaborate with colleagues to address them. So the AEU is bringing this group of members together to give them a chance to meet and talk through their issues. We will work through the legal liabilities of lab work with particular focus on OH&S, risk management and hazards. Lab techs will also be able to highlight particular areas that the AEU can work with them to address. Drinks and nibbles will be provided. Queries to Julie Lynch on (03) 9417 2822. Date: Tuesday, June 28 Time: 2pm Venue: AEU Office, Abbotsford Register: www.aeuvic.asn.au/calendar (click on the date) ◆
The department has told schools that this should be the case. Talk to your rep, and if problems persist, contact us on (03) 9417 2822. ◆
Dinner is served
UR ES twilight conferences continue to be very popular. Your feedback indicates that ES members have found the workshops useful and have thoroughly enjoyed the chance to share a meal and a glass of wine with colleagues, not only from their own school but from other schools. Why not get a group together from your school and join your colleagues and the AEU at a twilight conference near you? Upcoming dates June 9 Sale June 20 Colac June 30 Whittlesea ◆ www.aeuvic.asn.au
You can download the ES Agreement, read our ES Implementation Guide and find advice and information about your pay and conditions at www.aeuvic.asn.au/es_pay.
All about hours How many hours do part-time staff work? How long should lunch be? And do you have to work during recess? Our MSU is here to answer all your questions. Marg Pekin membership services unit
and agreement by both parties.
Working out time fractions The 76 hours per fortnight equals 38 hours per week. To convert your time fraction to weekly hours, multiply 38 hours by your time fraction: 38 hours x 0.4 = 15.2 (15 hours, 12 minutes) 38 hours x 0.6 = 22.8 (22 hours, 48 minutes) 38 hours x 0.8 = 30.4 (30 hours, 24 minutes)
NE of the most common calls that we in the membership services unit receive from ES members concerns hours of work and time fractions. So here’s a short explanation of how ES time fractions are worked out. Hours of work Ordinary hours of duty for full-time ES employees are 76 hours a fortnight, as set out in clause 19 of the ES Agreement. The hours apply pro-rata to staff employed part time. The employee and employer agree on how these hours are to be arranged, including: • Start and finish times • Length and time of meal breaks • Attendance at meetings • Flexible work arrangements • Attendance during school holidays. For part-time staff this will also include the number of hours worked per fortnight. Changing hours of work Schools should outline all these employment arrangements when they advertise positions on Recruitment Online, and when ES apply for the position, they accept these arrangements. If either the employee or the employer wish to vary these arrangements it can be done at any time, but only through consultation
Recess and meal breaks You are entitled to a meal break! Clause 19(5) of the ES Agreement gives ES staff a 30-minute minimum unpaid lunch break after five hours. There is no mention of morning tea or recess break in the agreement; however our schools have a recess break. Technically, recess is for students, not for ES or teachers, so both ES and teachers are considered to be on duty and available for work during recess; recess is paid time. Many schools have the custom and practice of allowing staff to take recess as a break as well — but if need be, you can be called on for duty and this can happen. Some schools give ES staff scheduled duties during recess. However if your school has had the custom and practice of taking recess as a break then any change should undergo consultation. Many ES staff use recess to debrief colleagues, prepare for the next session, catch up on developments, share information on student behaviour and
Recently, the issue of ES recess breaks was raised at a merit protection board hearing and the board’s determination made it clear that recess counts as paid time for ES staff. ◆
Here to help
F YOU experience a problem or simply need professional advice, AEU staff will support, advise and represent you. Our membership services unit (MSU) is your first point of contact, whether by telephone, email, fax, or letter. The MSU responds to more than 1,500 queries each year, across a wide range of issues from all sectors of the AEU membership. MSU staff are available from 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Call (03) 9417 2822 or 1800 013 379 (toll-free) or email email@example.com. ◆
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ES newsletter | june 2011
Basic home loan
management strategies, report back to coordinators about students, photocopy class materials, answer miscellaneous student requests and enquires — the list goes on. All this is what we call “professional conversations”; this time is valuable — it increases the cohesiveness and connectedness of staff and enhances efficiency within the working environment.