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3 minute read

It’s time for SS01s to MOVE UP!

The PSA has lunched its Moving Up campaign to focus attention on SSO1 reclassification

During the last enterprise bargaining negotiations for Education staff, the PSA was successful in having the government commit to reviewing the classification of SSO1s in order to address the systemic undervaluing of School Services Officers.

The agreement requires that all SSO1s who are permanent and have been in their role for more than 12 months, or who are temporary and have been in their role for more than two years, have their roles reviewed by their school to determine if they should be reclassified to SSO2.

In Term 3 of 2019, the PSA surveyed members and other SSOs to gauge how the implementation of the agreement was progressing and to gain further insight into prolonged insecure employment for SSOs on rolling contracts.

Among other things, the survey found that:

•  56% of respondents were classified at SSO1

•  39% of respondents told us they had been made to feel guilty or discouraged from applying for reclassification.

 •  39% of respondents had been told that their school can’t afford to reclassify them

The numbers reflect a systemic disregard for the workplace rights of an essential cohort in the public education workforce. The Department for Education has an industrial obligation to ensure every eligible SSO1 is reviewed for reclassification to SSO2 by their site leader. It’s clear that this is not taking place.

12 months on, similar results

The first action in the PSA’s Moving Up campaign for SSO1s was to conduct a new survey to gain further data from both PSA members and those who are yet to join our union. Early indications are that not much in the Department’s approach has changed in the past 12 months.

Not one principal has ever encouraged me to apply for reclassification.

“Nothing has ever been bought up by leadership, In previous schools I was always told if we go for a reclassification our hours may be cut. Budget issues? Not one principal has ever encouraged me to apply for a reclassification.”

The above comment taken from the current survey, and from an experienced SSO1 with more than 20 years in an education support role, reflects a very common response from school leadership when SSOs ask about reclassification. The PSA understands schools have budget pressures but, first and foremost, leaders have a duty to ensure their staff are treated fairly and their industrial rights are upheld.

Rather than reject the SSO’s application or simply ignore the industrial responsibility to review the SSO’s classification, school leaders must advocate on behalf of their SSOs and push the Department to meet their obligations. Appropriate funding must be provided to the school to ensure no-one is disadvantaged as a consequence of staff being paid correctly.

Are you stuck at SSO1?

Whether you’re a PSA member or yet to join the PSA, if you’re an SSO1 who is permanent and have been in your role for more than 12 months, or are temporary and have been in your role for more than two years, we want to hear from you. If you haven’t already completed our survey, you can register to receive the link on our website. Please forward this link to your SSO1 colleagues who are yet to join the PSA. We want them to see the value of collective action by getting involved in this campaign.

Next steps

Data collected from the survey will support the next steps in the PSA’s campaign to address SSO1 reclassification. The PSA can only follow through with support for financial members of the union.

If you are an eligible SSO1 and not already a PSA member, now’s the time to join! www.psaofsa.asn.au/ SSO1reclass