Vol 23 Issue 7 December 2008
Independent Education Union South Australia Working with members in non-government schools
Print Post Approved PP5352160008
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Contents Secretorial – Reality Bites
Frankly Speaking – Catholic Enterprise Bargaining to Begin
Balancing act – Paid Maternity Leave
Help at hand
OHS&W – Update to Workcover Changes
OHS Project – When a serious accident or incident occurs in your workplace
Professional Portfolio – National Curriculum
ISSN 1448-3637 Published by Independent Education Union (South Australia) Inc. 213-215 Currie Street, Adelaide SA 5000 Phone: (08) 8410 0122 Fax: (08) 8410 0282 Country Callers: 1800 634 815 Email: email@example.com EdU is published 4 times a year and has a circulation of approximately 4000. Enquiries regarding circulation should be directed to Alison Walker, Office Manager, on (08) 8410 0122. Editorial comment is the responsibility of Glen Seidel, Secretary.
Advertising Disclaimer Advertising is carried in EdU in order to minimise costs to members. Members are advised that advertising that appears in EdU does not in any way reflect any endorsement or otherwise of the advertised products and/or services by the Independent Education Union (SA).
IEU(SA) Member Notice – Membership Rates For 2009
2008 ESO Conference
AIS Schools “Who has What?”
Another IEU Member saves money
Industrial – IR Practicioners Share their Insights
Paid Maternity Leave Scheme – IEU(SA) Council Resolution
Jenny Gilchrist (Prince Alfred College) (Vice President)
Young Workers Legal Service
Val Reinke (Nazareth College) (Treasurer)
Equity Committee Seminar
Christopher Burrows (Cardijn College)
Who’s Who – Introducing Anne Edwards
Ian Jaensch (Faith Lutheran)
What’s your problem – ask Dorothy
Vietnam – Up close and personal
Intending advertisers should contact: Alison Walker on 8410 0122.
IEU(SA) Executive Members Margaret Sansom (Retired) (President) Glen Seidel (Secretary) John Blackwell (Retired) (Vice President)
Sheryl Hoffmann (Concordia College) Noel Karcher (Christian Brothers College) Marlene Maney (Cardijn College) Stephanie Margitich (Gleeson College) Shirley Schubert (Cornerstone College)
DON’T FORGET TO ADVISE IEU(SA) IF: • • • • • • •
You have changed address You have changed your name You have changed schools Your employment status has changed (eg now working part-time) You are going on unpaid leave You are retiring or leaving employment – you can remain a member at a reduced rate Resignation from IEU(SA) must be in writing
Details can be forwarded by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax: 8410 0282 or by post.
EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
Secretorial Reality Bites
Glen Seidel Secretary SA Workers Compensation legislation received a savaging this year. It is particularly disappointing that this slashing of workers’ entitlements came from a Labor government. Compensable disability make up pay is a feature of many awards in SA and elsewhere and will need to be included in EAs if previous entitlements are to be maintained.
As the year shortens more rapidly than the to-do list, it is time to extract lessons from the extraordinary year of 2008. There is no point repeating mistakes when there is such a rich field of new ones from which to choose. Industrially the battle for national benchmark teacher salaries has achieved the $75K level and SA at $68K is fighting to claw its way off the bottom of the national pile. The AEU is having a particularly difficult time negotiating with the state government to bring SA salaries into line with national standards and to minimise the impact of structural and funding changes in the government claim. This fundamental battle has transcended any historical and philosophical differences between the IEU and AEU in SA as we lend our full support to the proper valuing of the profession in SA. Changes to national IR legislation and coverage have resulted in much confusion and, at times conflict, relating to the form of agreements rather than the content. We are assured the excesses of Workchoices will be gone by 2010. The Union movement has been active in agitating and making submissions re the evolving legislation so that it will be workable and will enshrine the right to accessible, fair collective IR. With 200 schools, as well as other private training and ELICOS Colleges, we have been busy assisting members negotiate updated enterprise agreements of one shape or form. Industrial representation and assistance with Workcover claims have been making increasing demands on Union resources as psychological injury in particular and an increasingly hard line and pedantic treatment of complaints confront members without warning. “I never thought it would happen to me” is an oft repeated sentence. Education Support Officers (ESOs) are increasingly the target for separation from the collective agreement making and equal pay outcomes for the workplace. Employers recognise that teacher wage increases are going to be significant. They will want as smooth an introduction of these rates as possible, but they also don’t want to pay these levels of increase to non-teachers if they don’t have to. We must be vigilant to build strength in the ESO group and resist attempts to divide people off with lower increases, separate EAs or individual arrangements.
To add to the complete make-over of the IR scene we have an increasingly federal approach taken to most issues. Education issues need to be kept rational as a popularist approach periodically takes hold. OHS&W and workers compensation are also getting the federal treatment. Union activity is necessarily becoming more federally focussed as the main agenda is being played on a national stage whilst the state and local issues continue unabated. The IEUSA Branch of the IEUA is experiencing an increased work load in the federal arena, whilst the state body has experienced no reduction in member industrial and professional activity. Everybody has had their fingers burned by the current global economic meltdown. It is amazing how clear hindsight is as the “experts” tell us all the warning signs that the “experts” missed. My involvement in NGS Super as an IEU nominated trustee has kept me close to the ongoing analysis and the responsibility weighs heavily. The lesson I take is to refine my sceptical stance (even further!) and recognise that risk is real and consequences don’t just happen to other people. 2008 has been a sobering year for pundits and trustees alike where the dividends have been measured in humility rather than dollars. We are playing serious games with people’s careers, professions, health and financial security. The dangers are more real than ever and the consequences more severe. A collective approach to these issues is as necessary as ever. Union membership needs to be maintained as generational change depletes us of the solid, active long time members and younger folk with different headsets replace them. Employers take every opportunity to exclude Union influence when it is likely to be effective. Staff associations are still promoted as the consultative/negotiation mechanism of employer choice in many schools. The Union is promoted as an outsider meddling in community business rather than the independent expression of community issues. The challenge for the IEU is to maintain the relevance in members’ and non-members’ minds and to continue to build the sense of the bigger picture agenda that we are a part of. The employers have their Unions and lawyers. Employees need equal levels of organisation and resourcing to be able to have an equal dialogue. Oh, by the way – Happy Christmas! Glen
EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
Patterns at the Table A Snapshot
AIS Update Julie Lundberg Assistant Secretary eventually accept it or (c) a 3 year agreement with conditional clauses relating to reassessment of the DECS/AEU outcome. Other observable patterns are (d) a reluctance to engage at all and (e) employers willing to put a good offer on the table and engage with a range of issues.
Wider concerns are affecting negotiations Patterns this round and this year are different to those experienced previously. Identifying the unique circumstances this year helps find what is achievable and includes:
Employees Employees seek to (a) match the benchmark salary of a Step 10 teacher of $75,500 as soon as possible and preferably by the start of 2009 plus (b) benchmark paid maternity & adoption leave of 14 weeks after 12 months service. (c) There is also a need to seek to underpin current conditions affected by legislative change (grievance procedure, redundancy provisions for ESOs and Compensable Disability Make-up Pay), and then (d) prioritise family friendly, agreed workload (for teachers) and career pathways (for ESOs) items and (f) check coverage of employees to make sure individuals or groups of employees are not being excluded from being part of the Collective Agreement. Then there are (g) the site specific items.
Watch this List SA Schools paying Step 10 teachers the May 2008 Victorian Dept & Catholic Schools pay of $75,500 2008
$74,347 Feb ‘09
$75,834 1 Aug ‘09
$74,765 Aug ‘09
$76,144 1 Feb ‘10
Employers Employers are looking to offer around inflation level (5%) and (a) opt for interim measures such as short term agreements, or (b) maintain a low offer and see if employees wear out and
• The unsettling effect of protracted DECS/AEU negotiations. • The combined effect of national workforce shortages, global economic uncertainty, mining and defence booms in SA together with an aging population. • That several key common conditions in 104 Catholic and about 600 DECS schools in SA are still excluded from a number of independent school agreements. • New and draft legislation facilitating collective negotiations and employees’ capacity to work through their union. • Working in transition arrangements while the excesses of Workchoices are still being addressed. • Employer unwillingness to embrace benchmarks being set interstate. • An employer focus on forward planning and getting to grips with future arrangements to operate from 1 January 2010 rather than what is current, ie transition arrangements. There are no easy answers to melding the uniqueness of SA’s future as a state and the teaching profession here being part of a national workforce. However, SA does need to value its youth and get serious about investing in top quality schooling provision. The alternative we face is continuing to be the oldest aged state with an accelerating gap as young people continue to exit the state grossly disproportionately to those moving here.
IEU Executive and Staff wish all members
A happy, safe & relaxing Christmas and New Year The IEU office will close at midday on Friday 19 December and re-open at 9.00am 12 January 2009
EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
Catholic Enterprise Bargaining to Begin Frank Bernardi Catholic EA The Catholic Log of Claims has been prepared following a period of extensive consultation with members and can be found at: www.ieusa.org.au The preliminary discussion with the Catholic Office has been held and the first formal negotiating meetings scheduled. The first meeting on Monday 24 November focused on presentation of the IEU Log of Claims. It is hoped negotiations will be well underway by year’s end ready for recommencement in 2009. Members’ contributions are always welcome. The thoughts of some of our members about the issues they want addressed in the new Catholic Enterprise Agreement:
Salary Chris Burrows – Cardijn College “If the most important factor in a child’s educational experience is the teacher, why is it that the teacher is constantly asked to do more for less? As far back as when Bob Hawke was PM, the call was made for Australia to become the clever country. Clever on the cheap seems to be the order of the day. The call for the best and brightest to enter the teaching profession has never been louder. It’s hard to see though, why they would join our ranks. There is no doubt that teachers work hard. That is why Australian students constantly score extremely well in the International PISA tests. Our teachers are world class. The question is, do we as a society reward them as such? At present we are seeing a position that suggests the global financial crisis is yet another thing that teachers should have to bear. World class education, with world class teachers does not stop for a downturn in the economic cycle. What teachers are asking for is as simple as the old ‘fair day’s pay, for a fair day’s work’.“
Toby Priest – St Thomas School Goodwood & St Catherine’s Stirling “The Federal Government Senate inquiry into the teacher shortage concluded that the best way to attract more people to the teaching profession is to increase their pay. We are university trained professionals and we should be remunerated accordingly.”
EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
POR Points Carol Joyce – Kildare College “The amount of release time and remuneration often seem inadequate for the POR roles that staff are required to undertake. If too many points are used up at the higher levels, curriculum development and other areas can suffer. For example, in some cases a school may not have a Deputy Principal and a POR4 is appointed to perform that role, expending 13 points. This then means there are significantly less points to distribute. Staff, keen to maintain educational standards, then graciously accept responsibilities without time or remuneration and find that their workload becomes unsustainable. As a result the learning outcomes for students can also be put at risk. It is extremely important for the well being of all staff that the process of allocating the POR points is transparent and consultative so that the most effective distribution of responsibilities is reached. I fully support the IEU in tabling this issue and seeking improvements to the process.”
Filomena Isles – Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College “The allocation of POR points needs to be a transparent and codified process. If employers want the POR system to have integrity then positions must be awarded fairly in the appointment process and justly in terms of the time and money given to the position. There seems to be a wide discrepancy between schools in terms of the time given, the list of duties to undertake, and the POR points awarded; regardless of the position. It also appears many schools use the POR points for management positions such as Assistant to the Principals, instead of rewarding teachers for extra responsibility. Many schools want the work done - but are not prepared to give either the time or money for the work to be done adequately; adding to high stress levels amongst the staff. This certainly does not benefit educational outcomes. My view is that self-regulation by Principals has not worked. I support the IEU’s move, via the EB process, to engage with the employer in codifying how POR points are distributed.”
Teacher Workload Emily Bowden & Matt Pastro – St Josephs School Tranmere “With regard to teacher workload we believe it is important that the definitions connected with Teacher Workload are clarified and simplified. We hope this will resolve any misunderstandings between staff and administration regarding aspects of work. We believe this is important for us in order to work effectively together for the good of our schools and the benefit of our students. We fully support the Union’s move to improve definitions of Teacher Workload as we hope this will be of benefit to the employer and employees within the Catholic system.”
Improving Student Outcomes Matt Crisanti – St Columba College “There are a number of features in our log of claims that are strongly supported by staff and not surprisingly, they are student-centred and related to improved student outcomes. The first is the initiative of improved pay for teachers that have extended qualifications as a means of keeping them in a classroom, rather than the (normally) better, more qualified teachers being promoted out of the classroom into leadership positions. Such promotions result in students missing an exposure to better teachers, but currently there is no way to reward the better teachers or provide incentives for them to stay in the class room. The second popular feature is the introduction of index values for students with special needs. Presently it is possible that a teacher is faced with teaching a mainstream class with a multitude of students requiring modified curriculum. The teacher is compelled to effectively prepare a multitude of different lessons to the one class without any relief. Index numbers associated with a class size capping will go some way to reducing the demands on the teacher, either by less special needs students or by smaller classes. Importantly, the students themselves will benefit from the resulting improvement in learning conditions.” EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
Balancing Act Paid Maternity Leave
Louise Firrell Organiser/Educator
Background In June 2000 the International Labour Organisation (ILO) adopted a new Maternity Protection Convention. ILO 183 applies to all employed women and provides for a minimum of 14 weeks maternity leave. Recommendation 191 encourages parties to extend the period of leave to 18 weeks. Article 6 states that ‘cash benefits shall be at a level which ensures that the woman can maintain herself and her child in proper conditions of health and with a suitable standard of living’. Unlike other international treaties or conventions that countries adopt through a process of signing and ratifying, ILO Conventions have no signatory process. They are enforced only once a country has ratified the Convention. Australia did not ratify ILO 183. Australia responded to this Convention by noting that Australia does not have a tradition of social insurance and that employers fund various leave entitlements such as sick leave, long service leave and maternity leave where paid. Further, Australia indicated that it was not appropriate to require all employers, particularly small employers, to fund maternity leave. In 2002 the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) undertook a project to investigate the feasibility and cost of some kind of Government funded paid maternity leave for women. One of the outcomes of this project was the recommendation that women should receive at least 14 weeks paid leave after or around the birth of a child. The recommendations that came from this project were never taken up by the government of the day, but since then unions and employees have been trying to secure paid maternity leave through collective bargaining with the goal of reaching a minimum entitlement of 14 weeks. Employers in the education, health and finance sectors have generally agreed to provide this benefit to their female employees. The average entitlement is now around 12 weeks in those sectors. Employers who do provide this paid leave do so generally because they see the value in retaining highly trained employees and the saving in costs associated with disruption and training of new personnel. In many other areas of employment where women are clustered, no paid leave is provided, leaving as many as 45% of women with no entitlement.
Australia is lagging behind the rest of the world with regard to its social policy in this area. It and the United States of America are the only two developed nations that have no national scheme of paid leave. In addition to the societal benefits of supporting families by enabling women to have time to recuperate emotionally and physically from the birth of a child, the leave facilitates better bonding between mother and child and gives time for the establishment of breastfeeding which is important for the baby’s development.
Where we are now The Productivity Commission is the Australian Government’s independent research and advisory body for a range of economic, social and environmental issues affecting the welfare of Australians. Its role, in simple terms, is to help governments make better policies in the long term interest of the Australian community. This year the Australian Government asked the Productivity Commission to undertake a public inquiry into paid maternity and paternity leave. The inquiry was to focus on support for parents of newborn children up to the age of two years. The inquiry was to: • consider the economic, productivity and social costs and benefits of providing paid maternity, paternity and parental leave • assess the current extent of employer-provided paid maternity, paternity and parental leave in Australia • identify the models that could be used to provide such parental support and assess these against a number of criteria. These include their cost effectiveness; impact on business; labour market consequences; work/family preferences of parents; child and parental welfare; and interactions with the Social Security and Family Assistance Systems • assess the impacts and applicability of the various models across the full range of employment forms including selfemployed. The Productivity Commission released its draft report on September 29. These recommendations can be read in full on the Commission’s webpage, however in summary their recommendation is for a Government funded scheme which
EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
What the proposal could mean in dollars Current Entitlements Based on Catholic Step 10 salary $68,422 12 weeks paid leave = $15,739 (no superannuation or LSL benefits) + $5,000 Baby Bonus (Total value $20, 793 and 12 weeks paid leave) Proposed Scheme 12 weeks paid leave = $15,739 (no superannuation or LSL benefits) + 18 weeks at the minimum wage = $9,788 less 30% tax = $6,852 (Total Value $22,591 and 30 weeks paid leave) + superannuation on minimum wage component Other arrangements, for example employer ‘top up’ schemes would need to be carefully analysed with regard to eligibility criteria and value before being agreed to. The Government is being lobbied strongly by unions, women’s interest groups and families to make sure that a paid scheme will be implemented in 2009.
will give women actively engaged with the labour market 18 weeks maternity leave paid at the minimum wage and fathers 2 weeks paternity leave paid at the minimum wage. The Commission consulted until November 7 before its final recommendations were presented to the Federal Government. Once the recommendations are tabled the implementation in terms of which and when any of the recommendations will be legislated for is an unknown. If the recommendations are implemented in their current form, the IEU will (as will other unions) need to decide what their policy will be regarding the leave entitlements to which women will have access. The IEU has supported members through enterprise bargaining to achieve 12 to 14 weeks paid leave now in most schools. With the Government scheme added to this women could have access to up to 32 weeks of paid leave which would be of great benefit to families. Employers in the Catholic sector have a central fund established to meet the cost of the leave provided and other schools factor the costs into their budgets. As such it is an affordable component of employees’ working conditions and so there would seem to be no reason to ‘lose’ it. Women currently receive the Baby Bonus in addition to their leave entitlements which they would lose if the proposed scheme comes into effect. At the last IEU(SA) Council meeting, branch delegates had the opportunity to discuss the implications of the scheme and consider what should be the IEU(SA)’s position with regard to paid maternity and adoption leave. The Council, having had the opportunity to look at some modelling of costs vs benefits, passed a motion which supports members in trying to negotiate the best arrangements for their workplace when all factors are taken into account. Individual school arrangements vary as to: • the number of weeks of paid leave • whether the benefit is paid like salary with superannuation, or as a lump sum without • whether paid leave counts as service for sick leave and long service leave credit • whether there is provision for both maternity and adoption leave to be paid • requiring a longer qualification period than 12 months • requiring a recharge period for eligibility on a subsequent confinement • whether adjusted in some way for any government contributions. References http://www.humanrights.gov.au/sex_ discrimination/paid_maternity/pml/report/ sectionb.html http://www.humanrights.gov.au/sex_ discrimination/paid_maternity/index.htm
EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
Help at hand
but you must join your Union! We are always happy to hear about the many good news stories amid the deluge of problems and questions that members have. We have recently received the following two “good news” emails.
As nice as you are, I hope I won’t be in a position like that again, but I do know that you will help a lot of teachers in need. It was a pleasure meeting you and I wish you well in the future.
Message No. 1 Background An IEU Officer supported Member X by attending a meeting with the her employers in relation to member X’s continuing employment in Catholic schools. Member X is an experienced teacher committed to the classroom and the children in her care. Member X’s gratitude for the support she received is expressed in her email. We are pleased that this turned out well for her.
member of the Union. You certainly did your job well and I am sincerely grateful.
Regards Member X (Name withheld) It is important to note that non-members cannot be given the support they need if they join with an issue. Please pass this story on to non-members.
And Message No. 2
I found the IEU’s assistance, in particular Officer Y’s help, invaluable. At our school we were having discussions about our POR structure and process of appointment. At Hi [Union Officer] times, the discussions Members Equity Bank will no longer charge members of unionsbecame very divisive in the staff and confrontational with management. Officer Y’s calm nature a dishonour fee on union deductions After worrying about job security etc out of the blue I got and help and support in the sense that what we were asking the best news. My permanency is being transferred from Members Equity Bank will no longer charge members of unions a $25 dishonour fee for union for was: not unreasonable, was legal and perfectly justified, St X to St X. I have PERMANENCY exactly where I want. deductions where there are insufficient funds in their account. helped us and gave us strength to stand firm. In the end, A teacher who has been away for 6 years or so resigned the POR structure the school has been improved. Mr Tony Beck, Corporate Affairs for Members Equity Bank, said until todayinunion her permanent position and IHead GOTofIT!! members were being charged a dishonour fee for union dues that were rejected because of Many thanks insufficient funds in InterestME and Ultimate Offset Accounts. I feel so lucky and blessed that my deepest wishes have withheld] come true. Now "From I can do job with peacefrom of mind. now,my payments to unions our customers will not [Name be charged a dishonour fee even 16 October 2008
if the member does not have sufficient funds in the account," Mr Beck said.
Once you have finished with this issue of EdU, pass it on Thankyou so much for the support you offered me recently. "This does not mean thatbehalf we will honour the original payment is insufficientIt’s funds in toifathere non-member. a great opportunity to discuss some of You showed genuine interest on my and I truly the account. We definitely will not be paying the union subscriptions for reasons the customer. But it the many for becoming a member of the IEU appreciate your advice and time. I am so glad that I am a does mean that our union customers will not get charged the extra fee for a dishonoured and highlighting the support a strong and healthy Union payment." can provide. Mr Beck said trade unions and their members were valuable partners in Members Equity. Ends For further information contact Tony Beck Head of Corporate and Social Responsibility Members Equity Bank 039605 6011/0423 603 322
16 October 2008
Members Equity Bank will no longer charge members of unions a dishonour fee on 16 October 2008 union deductions
“This does not mean that we will honour the original payment if there is insufficient funds inthe account. We definitely will not be paying the union subscriptions for the customer. But it does mean that our union customers will not get charged the extra fee for a dishonoured payment.”
Equity Bank will no Members Equity BankMembers will no longer charge members of longer charge members of unions a dishonour fee on union deductions Mr Beck said trade unions and their members were unions a $25 dishonour fee for union deductions where valuable partners in Members Equity. there are insufficient funds in their account. Members Equity Bank will no longer charge members of unions a $25 dishonour fee for union deductions where there are insufficient funds in their account. Ends
Mr Tony Beck, Head of Corporate Affairs for Members Equity Bank, said were being Mruntil Tonytoday Beck,union Headmembers of Corporate Affairs for Members said until contact today union For Equity furtherBank, information charged a dishonour fee for union dues that were rejected members were being charged a dishonour fee for union dues that were rejected because of because of insufficient funds in InterestME and Ultimate insufficient funds in InterestME and Ultimate OffsetTony Accounts. Beck Offset Accounts. Head of Corporate and Social Responsibility "From now, payments to unions from our customers will not be charged a dishonour fee even
Members Equity Bank if the member doesfrom not have sufficient funds “From now, payments to unions our customers will in the account," Mr Beck said. 039605 6011/0423 603 322 not be charged a dishonour fee even if the member does "This does not mean that we will honour the original payment if there is insufficient funds in not have sufficient funds in the account,” Mr Beck said.
the account. We definitely will not be paying the union subscriptions for the customer. But it does mean that our union customers will not get charged the extra fee for a dishonoured payment."
Mr Beck said trade unions and their members were valuable partners in Members Equity. Ends
EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
Update to Workcover Changes Wendy Evans Workplace Health Organiser
On 17 June 2008, the South Australian Parliament passed significant legislative amendments to the WorkCover Scheme. The amendments affect both the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1986 (WRCA) and the WorkCover Corporation Act 1994.
• To promote sound decision making. • To get consent from the worker to the collection, use and disclosure of personal and health information when they notify their disability or provide a designated medical certificate.
One of those changes is the implementation of provisional liability. As part of the recent legislative amendment, Division 7A of the WRCA provides “Special provisions for commencement of weekly payments after initial notification of disability”.
The aim of the guidelines and supporting information is to assist with the
Previously, when a claim was lodged an investigation into the claim was undertaken. If there was a period of incapacity during the investigation and prior to the claim being determined, the injured worker would need to either: 1. apply and be granted interim payments of weekly income from the agent Employers Mutual Limited or Catholic Church Insurances, or 2. utilise their sick leave until the determination of the claim (that is to accept or reject the claim) was made. Sick leave would be reinstated if the claim was accepted, or 3. access other leave entitlements. Leave would be reinstated if the claim was accepted.
• Prompt management of a worker’s disability. • Return to work as early as possible. • Provision of proper income support whilst a worker has incapacity for work. • Clarification of the notification requirement for the reporting of disabilities. • Determination of entitlements once the disability is reported. This all sounds very positive. However, the devil is in the detail. The agent or exempt employer has the right to refuse provisional liability if reasonable excuses are made in writing to the worker. At this point in the time, the reasonable excuses are as follows:
The difference with the implementation of the provisional liability is that if an initial notification of a disability is made then during that period of investigation and incapacity the injured worker’s entitlement to weekly payments will be made.
• • • •
On face value, early payment of income maintenance is welcome. However, we need to keep in mind the big picture of these changes and how they will affect you if you are injured at work.
As we have seen from the amendments, the Government and WorkCover seem to be giving with one hand, and taking or withholding with the other.
Guidelines are currently being developed which have the following underpinning principles: • Satisfy legislative requirements, so that workers, employers, the Corporation, its claims agents, self-insured employers and other persons on behalf of the worker or the employer will obtain and provide information about the disability in a timely manner.
Claim for compensation already determined. The injured worker is unlikely to be a worker under the Act. The injury is not work related. The injury is notified after 13 weeks of incapacity.
Notification of disabilities for provisional weekly payments will be effective from 1 January 2009, even if the disability occurred before 1 January 2009 (unless a worker has made a claim for the same disability under Section 52 (Claim for Compensation) before 1 January 2009. This change is due in January 2009. I will keep you posted as to developments as they become known.
EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
When a serious accident or incident happens in your workplace Gerry Conley OHS Project Officer
A recent event resulting in a serious injury to a teacher following exposure to a chemical has raised the issue of what should happen when serious injuries or dangerous incidents happen at school. We all hope that accidents or incidents resulting in serious injuries or illnesses do not occur at work. It is the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe and healthy working environment and the employees’ responsibility to protect their own health and safety and take reasonable care to avoid affecting the health and safety of others in the workplace to the extent that they can, given the information and equipment they have been given and the control they have over their work. That aside, accidents and incidents, with sometimes quite serious outcomes, can occur. All schools should have a hazard and incident/accident reporting system in place so that employees can quickly and easily report these events. Hazard and incident reporting, no matter how minor the incident, alert the school to the need to carry out an investigation and a risk assessment to ensure that any risk associated with the hazard or incident is controlled to prevent any further occurrences. In fact the Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare legislation requires this. The legislation also requires employees to report hazards and incidents to school management and the Health and Safety Representative (HSR). The HSR must also be included in any investigation that occurs or be permitted to carry out their own investigation. The hazard and incident report form should include provision for the HSR to sign off that they have been notified. There are some injuries and incidents, which if they occur at school, must be reported to Safework SA. The Principal or delegated manager must report any of the following injuries to Safework by phone or fax as soon as they become aware of the injury. • any death • any injury that requires treatment as an inpatient in a hospital immediately after the injury • any injury that has acute symptoms associated with a substance at work – examples of this are – where a person comes into contact with a chemical and develops a serious rash – where a person breathes in gas or dust and falls unconscious
– where a person is exposed to a poison such as a pesticide and becomes nauseous and – where a person is burnt by an acid or solvent. When the injury is reported, Safework will decide whether an immediate investigation is needed and if so, an OHS Inspector will visit the school as soon as possible to gather information, and examine the place and circumstances where the injury occurred. The event referred to in the opening sentence was an immediately notifiable workplace injury, as the person concerned had an immediate reaction to the chemical, was admitted to hospital as an inpatient immediately after the exposure and developed a serious skin reaction as a result of the exposure. Even if the person had not been admitted to hospital, the injury would still have been notifiable to Safework. Dangerous occurrences which cause an immediate and significant risk to a person must also be notified to Safework. A person doesn’t have to be injured as it is the risk which is important. There are a range of dangerous occurrences which must be reported as soon as practicable. Some of these include: • an electrical short, malfunction or explosion • the collapse of a floor, wall or ceiling • an uncontrolled explosion, fire or escape of gas, chemical or steam • any other unintended or uncontrolled incident or event arising from operations carried out at the workplace that cause an immediate or significant risk to a person. The school must provide a written report to Safework within 24 hours of notifying the injury or occurrence by phone or fax. Permission from Safework must also be given before any alteration is made to the site where the injury occurred or any equipment or substance that caused or was connected to the injury or dangerous occurrence is reused, repaired or removed. However any steps to remove an injured person, protect the health and safety of others or to prevent undue damage to property can be taken. Further information on notifiable injuries and dangerous occurrences is available on the Safework website, www.safework.sa.gov.au
EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
Run only to profit members No commissions Low fees
NGS Super is the industry super fund for people working in non-government education
( 1300 133 177
Issued by: Non-Government Schools Superannuation Fund Pty Ltd ABN 46 003 491 487 AFSL No: 233 154 RSEL No: L0000567 the Trustee of the Non-Government Schools Superannuation Fund ABN 73 549 180 515 RSER No: R1000818
EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
Professional Portfolio National Curriculum
Julie Lundberg Assistant Secretary
A National Approach
interests of society including parents and employers. It should reflect the professional knowledge of teachers and should model the cooperative and collaborative approach which characterises the way teachers and students work in Australian schools today.
National consultation about introduction of a National Curriculum through the recently appointed National Curriculum Board is underway.
IEU Position The Independent Education Union supports work to achieve greater national consistency and comparability in curriculum, assessment, reporting and certification and in other areas of educational policy which contribute to ongoing improvements in learning outcomes. However, the IEU believes that this should not lead to national standardisation or uniformity of teaching approaches and subject curricula or a loss of quality teaching and learning conditions. The concept of a student walking out of any school in Adelaide and into a classroom in Pt Lincoln or anywhere in Australia and being up to the next day’s lessons has had media currency and is still a distraction from the real issues.
Curriculum Framework or Subject Syllabus The IEU notes both the time and expertise that teachers and other stakeholders have committed over the years to developing curriculum and learning opportunities with the sole interest of fulfilling every student’s opportunity to learn. Indeed, when curriculum development takes place in the states and territories, all stakeholders including teachers, parents, employers and experts from the university sector are involved.
Subjects included Work on the national curriculum covers K-12 (=R-12 in SA) in English, Mathematics, Sciences and History. The second phase has agreed to be on Geography and Languages Other Than English.
Timelines The National Curriculum is already being developed for K-12 (R-12) in English, Mathematics, the Sciences and History by the end of 2010. It is already well recognised that the goal of implementation in 2011 cannot be attained for all year levels overnight. You can respond to the national consultation on-line as the framing papers have been released ready for detailed curriculum work to begin in February 2009 at www.ncb.org.au. Issues surrounding local specialist subjects and regionally relevant aspects to curriculum are among matters raised as is cross-curriculum learnings and literacy and numeracy aspects. There are many layers to the working of such an implementation starting point whereby arrangements between states is going to be a crucial element. Consideration is already being given to special issues for Year 11 and Year 12 subjects and notice periods required for introduction of new curriculum under existing state jurisdiction arrangements. It is difficult to imagine that there will be any pull back from opportunities for broader development of ‘Community Studies’ style options under future SACE arrangements and recognition of other activities. Clearly sequencing across year levels and a focus on capabilities add dimensions to the work ahead. The IEU believes that further development of national curriculum should reflect the broad range of needs and
Further, the IEU notes that all schools and teachers recognise the importance of literacy and numeracy skills. The IEU supports the considerable resources, time and effort being invested in developing these skills in students. The IEU notes Australia’s continuing success in the international assessments such as PISA and TIMMS. Such high student performance outcomes are a testament to the success of our schools on a comparative basis in these skills.
Other State Systems Comparing Australia with other federal systems of government in OECD countries shows that others have state-based systems like we currently have in Australia. We know a number of European countries have national systems of schooling, notably the Scandinavian countries. However, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, USA and Mexico have ‘state’ differences like Australia and in the UK, Scotland’s system is significantly different to England’s and Wales and Northern Ireland are also differentiating from England.
National Framework already in Place The IEU has supported the work of MCEETYA over recent years in relation to national consistency and comparability and notes that very recent curriculum review in some states has been at pains to ensure that the nationally agreed elements are in place (Statements and Profiles). The IEU has long supported educational reform in curriculum that is based upon research, that ensures educational validity and integrity and very importantly that supports teacher professional judgement. The IEU supports debate around such reform when that debate is undertaken in a timely way, following broad consultation with key stakeholders in order to build and achieve consensus.
Just for the Record The IEU rejects the ‘back to basics’ mantra as political opportunism at its best and believes that it represents a serious failure in educational leadership. Such a simplistic notion would miserably fail to address the critical competencies that employers themselves have been asking schools to address for the last decade such as problem solving, entrepreneurship and team work.
Review of the Education & Children’s Services Acts Discussion Paper 3 is out for consultation with submissions due by 5 December 2008 including Proposal Two on Ministerial Responsibilities. That curriculum offerings are a matter for State and Territory Education Ministers meeting at their national Forum with the Federal Minister Julia Gillard, MCEETYA, raises significant questions about an appropriate role for Jane Lomax Smith in relation to non-government schools in SA. Each state and territory authority needs to determine how a national curriculum might work including accommodating International Baccalaureate, Montessori, Steiner and other philosophies and special schools curriculum.
EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
Lutheran Digest Negotiations Update
Louise Firrell Organiser/Educator
Negotiations have been more productive since the last report and progress has been made in a number of areas. Employers have agreed to: • 14 weeks paid maternity and adoption leave • two days non cumulative ‘Short Leave’ for special family events and urgent and pressing necessities per annum • the provision of suitable facilities for female staff to breastfeed or express and store milk if requested • improved redundancy provisions for LSOs by aligning with the new National Standards • Long Service Leave entitlements remaining unchanged. Agreement regarding class size benchmarks, maximum student contact time and Co Curricular commitment per semester is much closer and hopefully by the time of publication we will have dealt with most of these matters. It is significant that this agreement will be the first that will provide benchmarks in a number of key areas which will apply in local workload agreements across all Lutheran schools in South Australia. Class size caps for practical subjects such as Technical Studies, Home Economics, Art, Physical Education, Science practicals and Agricultural Studies have proved to be difficult to define. One way of determining a safe and workable number in some settings is to consider the number of desks or work benches
available, but this does not always provide the most useful guide in all situations. The position that has been agreed at present is that an OHSW risk assessment that takes into account the facilities, resources and potential hazards is an appropriate instrument to guide the determination of the number of students. The mechanism for this to occur in each workplace will need to be given consideration. Considerable discussion has taken place around the employer’s proposal to make some changes to the allocation of Positions of Responsibility. While the employees’ negotiating team are not opposed to changes in principle, we are keen to ensure that if there are any changes, they are an improvement to the process. A positive proposal has been that each POR position has a role description which will help to provide some consistency with regard to the level of responsibility and the time required to undertake the roles across all of the schools. The employer’s latest salary offer which is for a 3% increase in February 2009, 2% in July 2009, 3% in February 2010 and 2% in July 2010, is at the time of writing not agreed, and employers are continuing to refuse to improve the base rate for Temporary Relief Teachers above the current third incremental step. It is looking unlikely at this stage that we will have the agreement finalised by the end of the 2008 school year, but we are making progress.
IEU(SA) Member Notice
Membership Rates 2009
Direct Debit Dates 2009
Gross Annual Salary
less than $20,000pa
$20,001 - $25,000pa
$25,001 - $30,000pa
$30,001 - $35,000pa
$35,001 - $40,000pa
$40,001 - $45,000pa
$45,001 - $50,000pa
$50,001 - $55,000pa
$55,001 - $60,000pa
$60,001 - $65,000pa
$65,001 pa and above
*5% discount applies if full yearly payment is made before 27 February 2009 Invoices will be forwarded to yearly and ½ yearly payers in late January LWOP/Maternity or Paternity Leave/Unemployed: $8.33/mth or $100 pa. Retired: $35 pa.
For those members who pay their IEU(SA) subscriptions by Direct Debit each month, below are the dates on which we will be taking fees from your nominated bank account. The dates are in accordance with the Direct Debit Service Agreement and are on the second to last Friday of each month.
19th June 24th July
ESOs Steeling Ourselves 2008 ESO Conference
Gerry Conley and Wendy Evans
Around 40 ESOs gathered at the Education Development Centre on the evening of Wednesday 22 October for the biennial IEU(SA) ESO Conference. The theme for this year’s Conference was “ESOs Steeling Ourselves – for what faces us in the next Enterprise Agreement round.” IEU(SA) Acting Secretary, Julie Lundberg, welcomed participants to the Conference, acknowledged that we were on Kaurna land and outlined the program for the evening. The conference opened with a Panel Discussion on “Enterprise Bargaining and New Classification Structures” with panel members representing ESOs from across the non-government school sector – Annette van Rensburg (St Peter’s College), Marlene Maney (Cardijn College), Sheryl Hoffmann (Concordia College) and Wendy Evans (IEUSA ESO Committee Coordinator). Wendy opened the discussion, introduced the other three panellists and provided the framework for the discussion. She identified the value and impact that Support Staff have in our schools and that their work should not be undervalued or underestimated as to its overall impact on education. They should be correctly remunerated for the diverse range of tasks and skills and knowledge that they provide. She explained that the process of EB is the only current mechanism for improving wages and conditions for Support Staff. ESOs should be included in school Enterprise Agreements and not marginalised or separated out to negotiate on their own. Annette van Rensburg spoke about the experience of negotiating at St Peters College and the need for support staff to be alerted and informed about their industrial rights. She explained the process of meetings and the issues that the support staff wanted to include in the EB negotiations, with special reference to the access to a career path and 6 grade structure, position information documents and job descriptions. Marlene Maney described the circumstances under which a working party within the Catholic Sector was formed. The purpose of the Working Party was to fine tune the current criteria and classification structure from the last Catholic Enterprise Agreement to include in the upcoming Agreement.
Conference panel members: Marlene Maney, Sheryl Hoffmann, Annette van Rensburg and Wendy Evans
EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
The Catholic ESO Working party has been looking at the criteria across the six streams and grades and identifying some language that is used to describe what it is that ESOs do and how they are classified. The working party has utilised a Victorian Independent Education Union (VIEU) publication which aptly describes what Support Staff do across the levels. Sheryl Hoffmann outlined the work of the Lutheran Schools classification working party in EB negotiations and tabled their classification matrix. The draft matrix describes 6 competencies for ESOs for 6 classification levels under the following headings: Use of knowledge; Use of Skills and Problem Solving; Control, Authority, and Decision Making; Judgement; Responsibility and Accountability; and Responsibility for Others. After a meal break, Conference participants had their knowledge of ESO Entitlements enhanced and tested in a “quiz night” forum. Formed into six teams they were given a copy of the School Assistants (Non-Government Schools) Award and had to find the answers to the questions of Quiz Masters Bruno and Gerry, with each round of questions resulting in a team prize for the winning table. Answers were checked by Judge Wendy whose decision was final. It became evident quite early on that one team included too many experts, so the Quiz Masters decided to share around prizes by placing their own interpretations on what “winning” meant. This also determined the overall team prize for the night with the winners being the “Joeys” who had the distinction of having the lowest score. Feedback from Conference participants proved that this was an enjoyable, different but informative way of looking at employment entitlements. Sheryl Hoffmann, IEU(SA) Executive member and Chair of the ESO Committee then closed the Conference, thanked everyone for attending, encouraged members to participate in the ESO Committee and also inform it of issues which could be addressed in the future.
Conference convenor: Gerry Conley
EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
AIS Schools “ Who Has What?” Forum 5 November
Representatives from ten AIS affiliated schools attended the “Who Has What” Enterprise Bargaining forum at Marcellina’s on 5 November. Julie Lundberg, IEU’s Acting Secretary opened the forum and introduced its main purpose – to share experiences, outcomes and expertise in Enterprise Bargaining (EB) negotiations. The forum first looked at the roles of six stakeholder groups in the EB process; – the IEU, the AIS, Staff and Management Committee Representatives, the School Board and the Staff Association – what they do and what are their rights, responsibilities and resources. This helped to explore which groups can be parties to an Agreement; which are linked for provision of industrial advice and resources; which groups have the greater resources at the negotiating table (eg information, time); and which might be most effective at representing staff at the negotiations. It was widely noted by those attending that most schools are adopting a common formula suggesting a unified approach by Heads of Schools as to what is being offered at the bargaining table. One comment was “in some ways the schools are more unionised and collective than we are…”. The fact that Management Committee representatives have staff, time and resources during the day to formulate strategies compared with staff representatives who have to try and work their involvement in the EB process around their teaching and student support commitments was also seen as an issue.
Gerry Conley and Craig Bowyer The second session provided an opportunity for school “representative teams” to list what is in their current Agreement or what they have been offered in the current bargaining round for five key conditions – pays; teacher workload, ESOs; paid leave entitlements; and recognition and support for quality teaching. Each team provided information on coloured cards for their school which then created a “gallery” of EB conditions so that viewers could see the diversity between Agreements and offers as well as some of the common employer claims. Frank Bernardi, IEU Organiser, summarised the findings of the evening pointing out that it is clear that employers act collectively through the AIS, they use the industrial services provided, have access to information on what is happening in other schools and develop their offers based on the advice they receive. It is therefore crucial that employees act collectively as well through the IEU to be able to negotiate the best outcomes for staff in their schools. This was further supported by Marg Sansom, IEU President, in closing the forum. Marg thanked those who had participated and sought interest in establishing an IEU Committee to consider how the union can build on its organising approach and service to members in AIS schools. The evening concluded with the offering of a variety of great pizzas and anti-pasto (for the non-pizza eaters) from our hosts at Marcellina’s.
EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
Prescribed Leadership Points Bruno Sartoretto Organiser
Band 2 Positions sometimes known as Positions of Responsibility are defined in the Teachers (NonGovernment Schools) Award and may be specifically referred to in the school or sector Enterprise Agreement. At 1st February each year Prescribed Leadership Points are calculated on the actual equivalent full time teaching staff of the school. For secondary schools this is 1.5 times the number of equivalent full time teaching staff and for primary schools, up to and including year 7, 1.0 times equivalent full time teaching staff. Schools split into sections such as Junior School, Middle School and Senior School with defined Heads or Principals are considered to be separate schools and each attract their own POR points. All teachers, whether they are part time or full time, are able to hold Positions of Responsibility. These positions are not prorata, and as such, part time teachers receive the full allocation of points and salary. If a teacher works part time in two schools then each school can give that teacher a POR and the Prescribed Leadership Points, salary and conditions specific to the role. Staff may be required to submit an application for the advertised position at the school or the Principal may appoint a staff member to a position. POR roles will have an agreed duty statement setting out:
1 – the classification level 2 – the local title of the position (if applicable) 3 – the salary and allowance to be paid 4 – the duties to be carried out 5 – the length of tenure of the position 6 – the provision of additional non-contact time (if any).
Prescribed Leadership Points can only be allocated to one leadership position held by one teacher at any one time. The practice of splitting a Band 2 Level 1 Leadership positions should be discouraged unless there is a genuine job share situation in place. In reality, we have two teachers share one position, the reward is diminished but, not the work. Each teacher would receive half of the Prescribed Leadership Points and as such half of the salary attached. Should the role be larger than one person then two Band 2 Level 1 Leadership positions should be considered with the correct allocation of points, salary and where applicable, time. Where administration is trying to squeeze 2 non-genuine job sharing teachers into a Position of Responsibility attracting Band 2 Level 1 Prescribed Leadership Points, salary and conditions, then the duty statement certainly needs a redraft and some duties either removed or drastically modified to accommodate only one person.
Principals, Deputy Principals, Bursars or Administrators of a school or a person employed as a Head or Principal of a section of the school are excluded. These positions do not attract POR points under the exclusions in the Teachers (Non-Government Schools) Award. The Lutheran Agreement also specifically excludes School Chaplains. ESOs do not attract and are not eligible for Prescribed Leadership Points. Should an ESO be in consideration for co-ordination duties at the school then a reclassification of the grade the ESO is currently on is the most appropriate way for this to happen. Prescribed Leadership Points can only be attributed to teachers. There are 4 Levels in the Band 2 Teacher classification structure. Level 1 attracts 2 points with tenure of 1 year; level 2 attracts 6 points with tenure of 2 years. These two levels allow for teachers with Advanced Skills Teacher classification to be paid the AST salary component in conjunction with the Band 2 Level 1 or 2 salary. Level 3 attracts 9 points and level 4, 13 points. Levels 3 and 4 have tenure of 5 years and, although AST status may apply the salary does not. Tenure may have been altered by an existing EA and it’s advisable to check your school or sector Enterprise Agreement. Both the current Catholic and Lutheran Enterprise Agreements stipulate half an hour of release time per POR point. Level 1 gets 1 hour release per week, level 2, 3 hours release and so on. Other independent schools may have variants on this detailed in their Enterprise Agreements. If there is any doubt in the allocation of Prescribed Leadership Points or POR allocations your IEU Officer can assist your school’s IEU Branch in calculating the total POR points that are available to the school as well as discuss any duty statements. Distribution of the points is up to the school, but, changing a title of an administrator such as renaming a Deputy Principal position as Assistant to the Principal, or similar, certainly can be challenged. A leopard cannot change its spots. This is an area that Consultative Committees and IEU Branches can have a real impact in the school. Leadership positions should be identified by staff which then can have a direct impact at the local level. Ownership of local initiatives can be strengthened without the need for funding beyond the school. Put it on the table at the next meeting.
EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
are vital for teachers and students ISSUE
WITHOUT A SOUNDFIELD SYSTEM
WITH A SOUNDFIELD SYSTEM
• As distance from the speaker increases, sound levels decrease • Typically, students at the front of a classroom receive 83% of speech while students at the back only receive 55%
• Sound levels are constant within the amplified area of the classroom • Students at the back receive the same signal as the students at the front
• Classrooms, by nature, have a lot of background noise from within the room and externally • Noise levels are often at a similar volume to a teacher’s voice, ~50-65dB • Hearing in noise is much harder than hearing in quiet • Australian Standards for classrooms is 35-45dBA
• Speech is amplified evenly throughout the room to a volume above the background noise without the need to raise your voice • Speech is made clearer through a soundfield system
• Speech sounds are reflected off shiny and hard surfaces, adding to the reverberation (echo) in a room • Reverberation and echo have the same effect as noise
• A soundfield system alone will not improve poor acoustics but will lessen the need for teachers to raise their voice
Reverberation and Echo
Soundfield systems are vital for teachers and students. What is your reaction to the following questions? 1. Do you expect your students to see their work clearly in a dimly-lit classroom? 2. Is your classroom fitted with lighting? You’re probably thinking, “what strange questions to ask…” What if the questions were changed slightly? 3. Are your students expected to hear your voice clearly in an acoustically poor classroom? 4. Is your classroom fitted with a soundfield system? My guess is that your answers have changed from “no” and “yes” to “yes” and “no”. If you answered YES to the fourth question, congratulations on using a Soundfield System in your classroom! I’m sure that you love it, don’t want to be without it and don’t want it moved to another classroom next year. If you answered NO to question 4, READ ON. Find out why soundfield systems are a must have for teachers. Soundfield systems are designed to distribute the teacher’s voice evenly across the classroom, giving all students access to clear speech, no matter where they sit. They improve comprehension, enhance learning outcomes and help maintain classroom control. But wait, there’s more… they also relieve teachers’ vocal cords, decrease staff sickness due to vocal issues and prevent the need to raise one’s voice.
Nicola Capon Teacher of the Deaf Cora Barclay Centre
They are one of the most cost-effective acoustic improvements you can make in a classroom. A soundfield system is an
improvement for EVERYONE in the room, teachers and students alike. The life of a soundfield system is around 10 years; therefore its cost per year is less than the cost of one teacher absentee day per year. If you wanted to absorb the cost within student fees, you would only need to add around $10 per year. Less than the cost of 3 recyclable drink containers per week! Various soundfield systems are available: • Classroom systems (infrared and FM available) that consist of a microphone, receiver and four speakers. These are wireless systems giving teachers the freedom to move around. • Portable systems (FM) that consist of a microphone and receiver and a dual speaker system. Which students do soundfield systems help? ALL of them! Notably, soundfield systems assist students not sitting at the front of the room, students with learning difficulties, students from non-English speaking backgrounds, students with auditory processing disorders, students with autism spectrum disorders, students with ADHD, students with hearing impairments, students with special needs. Research shows that soundfield systems improve academic performance for all students. Soundfield systems are the best thing for the classroom since Edison invented the light bulb. Now we can teach children in appropriate ‘visual and auditory light’. For more information or for a demonstration or trial of a soundfield system, please contact the Cora Barclay Centre on 8267 9200 or Nicola Capon email@example.com. EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
IEU Members Can Save Money Unfortunately many Union members have a limited view of what their membership means. Too many have a narrow vision - it is an RAA card – something to pull out of the back pocket when the proverbial hits the fan – the employer says there are performance issues or a child has claimed you hit them and the list goes on. Sadly this mentality leaves out the main focus of what Union membership means – looking after each other and our profession through collective strength. That collective strength also means that weight of numbers provides the critical mass necessary to garner additional benefits for members.
Frank Bernardi Organiser
A family member recently needed a significant operation, with services spread across a number of hospitals and specialists. TFH were very efficient in dealing with all bills generated at this time. My recollection is that the financial side of the process was relatively “painless” and out of pocket expenses were less than I had expected.”
Two good examples of this are Members Equity and Teachers Federation Health. Both were established by Unions one to provide banking facilities the other health cover - at the cheapest possible price without the necessity to make a profit to return to shareholders. Hence members can regularly save their Union fees and much more with products provided by these two bodies. In this edition of EDU I would like to focus on the benefits available to members from Teachers Federation Health. An important basic fact you should know about health care is that the government offers incentives for you to have ‘private health cover’ so as to reduce the burden on the public health system. What sort of incentives: • There is a minimum rebate from the government of 30% on health cover fees. • If you are single and you earn more than $70,000, or are a couple, and combined you earn more than $140,000 you will have to pay a 1% Medicare levy Surcharge if you don’t have private health cover. • Young teachers and education support officers in particular need to be aware of the fact that if you take out private health cover before you are 31 years old you will pay lower premiums for the rest of your life compared with someone who joins later in life. Tony Healy, a teacher at St Michael’s College, Henley Beach, has been a long standing member of Teachers Federation Health (TFH). He still regularly reviews their coverage against his old fund and on a recent check found he is $37 per month better off for like coverage. He also believes the TFH, in his case, returns a slightly higher benefit per service than his ‘old fund.’ Tony has very positive comments to make about his experience with Teachers Federation Health:
“No “shopfront” in SA? Not a problem. All forms are available online, if required at all. A 1300 number is available for enquiries, and if out of hours you can leave a message. On the few occasions I have had to contact TFH at odd times, they have returned my call early the next day. Also, being able to conduct business on line or by phone is actually very convenient, not having to drive to the nearest “shopfront” is great, there are no queues and I haven’t had to wait for long on the phone. Queries are always responded to cheerfully and efficiently.
(Excerpt from Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA newsletter Winter 2007 and website www.APHEDA.org.au.)
St Michael’s College colleagues: Tony Healy and Angela Benedetti Angela Benedetti, a colleague of Tony’s at St Michael’s College recently discovered the benefits of Teacher Health. Newly married she decided it was time to review all and sundry, including health cover. After comparing the options available in Teachers Federation Health with that of like options in well known retail health funds it was clear Angela and her husband, Moreno, would be several hundred dollars a year better off with Teachers Federation Health. Tony and Angela’s experiences validates figures available to anyone who visits the independently established and run government website – privatehealth.gov.au. It will confirm that Teachers Federation Health is regularly cheaper than retail health funds.
Some other interesting facts. Did you know: • The management (administration) expenses of Teachers Federation Health are just over 7% of contribution income. This is far lower than the industry average of 10.1%. • During the last financial year, Teachers Federation Health returned 96 cents out of every contribution dollar back to members in benefit payments. In summing up, it is well worth you taking the time over the coming summer break to contact Tony Johnston (SA Member Liaison Coordinator – phone 0400 406 705 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org) Tony will help you review your current health cover arrangements and compare it to what Teachers Federation Health has to offer. Be you an education support officer, teacher, deputy or principal, as long as you are a member of the Independent Education Union you can access this benefit. EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
NGS Super CEO Anthony Rodwell-Ball has had to start his life over several times, explains Carolyn Swanson. Superfunds • OCTOBER 2008 A CEO with a social conscience, Anthony Rodwell-Ball considered many careers before settling on the superannuation industry. He contemplated entering the priesthood, worked as an accountant, in haulage, chemicals manufacturing, IT, community support networks, as a lifeline counsellor and a volunteer reader of talking books for the blind. He arrived in Melbourne from Zimbabwe in 1986 with $200 and half a shipping container of furniture. The young financial controller, as he was then, had always believed that race was an accident of birth and should not have bestowed upon him the life of privilege and the benefits of an education he had as he grew up white in Rhodesia. However, any hopes of a better and fairer future looked increasingly bleak after six chaotic years of Rhodesia’s self-rule as the new nation of Zimbabwe. “We were witnessing the terrible tragedy of the beginning of the breakdown of law and order, corruption and economic ills which have destroyed the country.” Rodwell-Ball decided he had little choice but to leave behind his job, his extended family, his home and his savings to try his luck in his wife Leonie’s homeland.
“This role is a good marriage. I am delighted to bring to the table appropriate judgement and skills, for if an industry is to successfully grow, marketshare must be competitively earned. As he packed, officials from the Office of the Prime Minister arrived to check that his shipping container contained only furniture that was the requisite four years old or more and did not include more beds or lounge suites than would have belonged in his own home. When he landed at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport, RodwellBall set a goal of three years to regain an equivalent position in a company comparable in size to the British computer company he had worked for in Zimbabwe. “That starting point in a new country was a big turning point for me. I had been a relatively big fish in a small pond in Zimbabwe, becoming the finance director of the country’s biggest transport company at 29 and moving on to become CFO of ICL Zimbabwe. It is rare to get those opportunities in a bigger country, but in a smaller country you get promoted beyond your ability and maturity.
EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
“When I got to Melbourne, I had to reassess and start again. I had to re-qualify. I spent my first three years working for relatively small companies getting the local credibility and experience to be able to make a genuine contribution at a higher level. I did a conversion paper for my CPA.”
In this senior role, Rodwell-Ball was able to bridge the gap between marketing and sales and the factory supply side of the industry. According to Leonie, this was his most character building role, as he managed customers like Telstra and large government departments.
Almost 20 years later, Rodwell-Ball is starting again, this time at NGS Super in the chief executive’s role he feels circumstances twice cheated him of – first when he fled Zimbabwe and later when he was struck down by chronic Meniere’s disease.
“I had to quickly change my style from being a backroom shy, introverted person to walking into room shaking hands to engage and identify needs,” he says.
NGS Super is the superannuation fund for non-government schools and Rodwell-Ball is loving the opportunity to head a not-for-profit organisation with performance KPIs designed to benefit members rather than shareholders. With a wife in the teaching profession, he feels he is well placed to understand the unique needs and demands of NGS Super members. “I probably could earn a lot more money in the retail sector, but when you have been through 20 years of working for big corporates, driving every cent for shareholder profits, you can get jaded. “This role is a good marriage. I am delighted to bring to the table appropriate judgement and skills, for if an industry is to successfully grow, marketshare must be competitively earned. “I support the industry funds marketing campaign unashamedly, to make sure that members’ hard earned dollars will not be eroded by unnecessary fees.” The move to NGS in June 2008 necessitated a move to Sydney and a hands-on role at the fund in a critical stage of its development. Although difficult for his wife, a special education teacher who has stayed on in Melbourne in the interim, the move has been one of Rodwell-Ball’s most exciting challenges – to grow both his own capabilities and the size and attraction of his fund. Rodwell-Ball joined the superannuation industry in 2001 as financial controller for STA (which merged with ARF to become AustralianSuper in 2006). When he joined, STA’s trustee office had a staff of 25. This grew to more than 100 in AustralianSuper as he oversaw the introduction of rigorous in-house financial reporting and procedures. Success in this role led to his appointment as CFO of the $19 billion behemoth ESSSuper, which was established for public sector employees and government emergency workers. The superannuation phase of Rodwell-Ball’s career followed 10 years with Fujitsu where he started out in finance, but finished as general manager in charge of sales, marketing and customer service after volunteering to replace the factory supply manager who resigned in 1993.
“I had always been a monosyllabic communicator but you can’t be that way when you are flogging consumer goods, so I have had to become a networker, which is something that comes with maturity and confidence. As you become more experienced in life, you make more of yourself and manage the change.” Superfunds • October 2008 Reprinted with permission from Superfunds magazine and Carolyn Swanson. Photography by Petri Kurkaa Superfunds is published by The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia.
Improve Learning Success With
Active Learning Systems 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
How far can a teacher’s voice carry? If we’re lucky all the way into the future. There’s no telling how long your words will stay with them. But if you want to be remembered, you have to be heard. That’s why Phonic Ear’s Frontrow Active Learning Systems are designed not only to improve audio quality, but to make a classroom a more intimate environment for learning. It’s about keeping students engaged today, so you’ll have a lasting impact tomorrow. From ultra light portable systems to infrared technology we’re able to optimise every learning environment.
For further information please contact
Ph: +61 8 8267 9200
Michael Forwood: email@example.com
“I like change; I see life as constant change. The role was a bit of self-flagellation to begin with, but if you don’t get out of your comfort zone regularly you are not likely to grow.”
EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
IR Practitioners Share their Insights Practical Information for Members Collected Highlights of the Industrial Relations Society Conference Adelaide 2008 Howard’s Workchoices Replaced The new federal policy on industrial relations is called Forward with Fairness. It is about establishing a single national system in Australia for the private sector. The term private sector is used to encompass both the for-profit and the not-for-profit sectors. That is, encompassing non-government schools which up until May 2006 generally conducted industrial relations in the state jurisdiction. The legal basis on which to establish a national system binding on the whole private sector is not clear cut. Rather, the means to attain an extensive national system would be through cooperation between the State and Territory Ministers with the Commonwealth. Forward with Fairness is the proposed new system to cover the national private sector.
Transition Act Workchoices arrangements have been modified by the Transition Act. The Transition Act came into effect on 28 March 2008. Further changes are being planned ahead of the introduction of the new model Forward with Fairness for 1 January 2010, and were introduced into the House of Representatives on 25 November 2008. While the Workchoices legislation was set up to move workers increasingly onto Australian Workplace Agreements (AWAs), the Transition Act provides a pathway back to collective arrangements and undoes several of the more extreme provisions. Of the Transition Act changes, the following directly affect non-government schools negotiating during the transition period (28 March 2008 – 31 December 2009). • It prevents the making of new AWAs. • It creates a new form of individual workplace agreement, the Interim Transitional Employment Agreement (ITEA) – of limited life during transitional arrangements. • Very importantly for the vast majority of non-government schools in SA, it enables the life of Preserved State Agreements (Schools’ EAs struck in the state jurisdiction) to be extended and varied in certain circumstances.
Julie Lundberg Assistant Secretary Implications for Schools In 2007 and early 2008, employees were negotiating to maintain as many existing conditions as possible (while negotiating for improved pay and paid maternity leave etc) in a Workchoices Collective Agreement. In order to have one, the list of complicating factors was substantial, starting with fines for breaches of prohibited content, limitation of allowable matters, and the need to redraft everything to fit different legislation. The main effect of the Transition arrangements is a return to collective bargaining as the main option. Now employees can focus on the claim itself and be far less consumed with the Agreement’s form, meeting technical requirements and leakage of long-hold entitlements. Those negotiating in schools with some contract positions, whether AWAs or common law contracts, now have improved capacity to include appropriate provisions under collective bargaining and so rebuild coverage of the whole employee group. This is a rebalancing from the pressure of Workchoices, to maximise use of contracts and minimise coverage, content and indeed use, of collective agreements.
An Employer Perspective The following comments were made by an employer adviser addressing HR managers: • The new arrangements mean a transition to the collective (for those of you who have introduced AWAs). Work with the union to make sure arrangements are dealt with in a practical way. • The advantage of the Extended and Varied Preserved State Agreements is that there is no longer the prohibited content problem of Collective Agreements that there was under Workchoices legislation. These are available as part of Transitional arrangements prior to implementation of the new system [Forward with Fairness] in 2010. • Content of Agreements that is no longer prohibited will be back on 1 January 2010. Employers are advised to discuss with unions about what might be back in. • Good faith bargaining is back. Employers will need to reach agreement with the unions or the Commission will determine it. Time to re-evaluate relationships with your unions and improve where required.
A Union Perspective National advice is that • It’s time to move to a broad long-term agenda again for long-term secure satisfying jobs for workers. • Genuine collectivity needs to be fostered in workplace bargaining whether with unions or employees (for nonunionised areas). (ACTU) • Employees have a major downside of a great fear of retribution. Government help is needed to enable employees to consult, negotiate and bargain collectively.
EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
Paid Maternity Leave Scheme
IEU(SA) Council Resolution • Strike action is not an option from 28 March 2008 for any employee wanting to have an extended and amended preserved state Agreement with their employer.
On 29 October 2008, IEU Council Delegates met to discuss IEU Parenting Leave policy in the light of changes proposed by the Productivity Commission.
• Having mentioned that, what constitutes ‘strike action’ has very broad application. However, the comparable application for the employer is a ‘lock-out’. This is a very unbalanced downside for employees and helps underpin the very real employee fear of employer retribution as a response to wanting to or entering into negotiations with their employer.
The current Federal provision for maternity leave is only a tax exempt ‘Baby Bonus’ of $5,000 plus a possible family tax benefit. The recommendations put to government include 18 weeks Paid Maternity Leave (PML) at the minimum wage and the withdrawal of the $5,000 baby bonus.
All those who have been involved in collective agreement negotiations since the first round in our sector in 1996 would not need the term bargaining fatigue explained. At this point in time, both employers and employees as represented by their unions need to discipline themselves to proceed. Both parties need to endeavour to build an environment for the future and employers need to focus on building capacity through good relationships with unions. There remain some challenges for negotiating in nongovernment schools in SA. Teachers and ESOs as employees and also as professionals have a mutual interest in building safe, long-term sustainable secure enterprises that have mutuality in forward vision and planning with management, not adversarial relationships as characterised some industries in the mid 1990s.
Forward with Fairness The new legislation as proposed falls short and needs: • more obligation of good faith bargaining • an arbitration system to underpin (now proposed) • protection of employees from employer retribution • fairer unfair dismissal legislation (the stand-out No 1 issue for employees in an ACTU national survey) • the right to be represented (part of international law but not a feature of the law proposed to date). In brief, employees need some government support to redress the power imbalance with some often little formally used but essential ‘big bat behind the back’ provisions. The 10 National Employment Standards are due to come into effect 1 January 2010 together with Modernised Awards and Forward with Fairness law. In the meantime, employees need to focus on general labour market shortages, and the advice their employers are receiving to embrace the renewed focus on collective bargaining and build capacity through building good relationships with the union. For employees the pull-back from some of the worst excesses of Workchoices provides a renewed opportunity. Employees may be able to gain some improvement in good faith bargaining practice and hopefully experience less intransigence so they can secure attractive environments, modelling best employment practice for their students in the process – such professional engagement is at the heart of schooling in Australia and reflects our democratic society.
CURRENT NON-GOVERNMENT SCHOOL PROVISIONS VARY (a) For all Catholic, Lutheran and a number of Independent Schools: 12 weeks paid leave after 12 months service, or 14 weeks at some Independent Schools. (b) For all other Independent Schools:
(i) (ii) (iii) (iv) (v) (vi)
the number of paid weeks is between 0 and 14 paid weeks, and/or the qualification period may be 2 or 3 years, and/or there may be a re-charge service period before a further period of eligibility, and/or some payment may be held for return to work, and/or several also have sliding scales of eligibility, and/or several want any payment by the school to be net of any government benefit.
One school recognises the period of Paid Maternity or Adoption Leave as service (as does DECS). Payment of Superannuation varies. In the current round of negotiations, some independent schools are keen to increase eligibility requirements and therefore reduce the paid leave available. The lost $5,000 baby bonus is quite similar in value to 18 weeks pay at the minimum wage minus tax ($6,852) which also affects family tax benefit. If employees are to maintain the current level of PML benefits, then employers will need to continue to pay at current levels in addition to any universal scheme for PML. 14 weeks at full pay plus 18 weeks at minimum wage is no more expensive to the employer (nor significantly beneficial to the employee) than if there were no universal scheme and the baby bonus was retained. The option of simply converting 12 or 14 weeks at full pay to 18 weeks by topping up the last 4 or 6 weeks works out less expensive for employers but can also mean a reduction of entitlements for employees. Council endorsed a two barrelled resolution supporting • the maintenance and improvement of the current entitlements, or • for members in schools currently with a poor or zero provision and/or restricted eligibility provisions the employer should at least top up the 18 weeks including full superannuation contributions every time an employee is eligible for the 18 weeks paid by the government. Negotiations should continue in order to lift entitlements to market levels. EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
Young Workers Legal Service (YWLS)
Assisting and Educating Young South Australian Workers Deborah Nicholls It is staffed by volunteer advisors who, after interviewing the young worker client, undertake research, draft correspondence, prepare documents for advocacy and attend conciliations and arbitrations as a support person.
Olivia Guarna YWLS Co-ordinator
“Beth (name changed to ensure client confidentiality) had a month trial as a travel agent. She did not sign a contract or any type of agreement when she began. During her first month, she worked Monday – Friday, 8.30am – 5.30pm. She also worked Saturday mornings. In this time she made a few mistakes in the bookings, however she was learning and the mistakes were minor. As a result of this, she was terminated. Beth was asked to sign a document which said she would forfeit her wages for the time she worked, in exchange for the employer not recovering the “losses Beth had caused.” She did not sign the letter. The YWLS negotiated with her employer to pay her the month’s wages, and argued that the mistakes were genuine and would be covered by vicarious liability legislation. The wages and superannuation were recovered for Beth.” This is just one of the stories that the YWLS has to tell about the employment issues that are brought to their attention each year by young workers. Young workers often don’t know or understand their rights as employees. They can be easily exploited and often don’t know where to go for help and advice. The Young Workers Legal Service (YWLS) was established five years ago under an SA Government grant to provide advice and representation to young workers throughout South Australia. It operates from SA Unions each week on Tuesdays and deals with issues raised by individual young workers under 30 in a range of industries, occupations and employment status. It has two roles: • on a one off basis, as an advocate, assisting young workers who may not know very much about their rights and entitlements and unaware of their options within the legal system. • as an educator, informing young workers of how to ensure that their rights and conditions are protected, by encouraging union membership. Knowing and understanding the vital role of unions is of particular importance as the policy of the YWLS is to provide assistance on a one-off basis for each young worker.
Matters for which they provide assistance include unfair dismissal, underpayment of wages, equal opportunity, discrimination, bullying, sexual harassment, disputes involving trainees and apprentices, workers compensation and general advice about worker entitlements under law. Advice is provided over the phone and in interviews. Referrals come from organisations such as Safework SA, Equal Opportunities Commission, Legal Services Commission and unions, indicating the high regard in which the YWLS is held. Increasingly, referrals are also coming directly from former clients.
Representing young workers In 2006 – 2007, 142 young people received direct advocacy or specialised advice from the YWLS and nearly 300 more were assisted with phone and email advice. Since its inception in 2003, by November 2007 it had provided direct assistance to over 600 clients in South Australia, had assisted young workers to recover $434,920.35, which included unpaid wages and entitlements, unpaid overtime, recovered superannuation, compensation from sexual harassment and discrimination complaints, orders from the Grievances and Disputes Mediation Committee for trainees and apprentices and settlements from unfair dismissals and unlawful termination claims.
Encouraging union membership Because of their limited industrial knowledge and their highly precarious employment situations, young workers are amongst the most vulnerable workers in Australia. When a young worker comes to the YWLS with a complaint, if there is a legal option to pursue they provide the necessary assistance. They also want to ensure that the young worker client takes away an understanding of how to prevent such things from happening in the future and how to protect themselves – by joining their union and actively developing their skills and participating with their other union members. The YWLS provides all their clients with information about their right to join a union and to bargain collectively with their employer. In 2006 – 2007, many YWLS clients joined their relevant union.
Learning more The YWLS can be contacted to speak at schools, explaining the role of the Service providing an overview of the issues that are facing young workers. If you would like more information, their website is: www.ywls.org.au or you can phone them on (08) 8279 2223. Information and excerpts from Young Workers Legal Service Annual Report 06 07 EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
Equity Committee Seminar
Issues for Muslim Girls in Non Government Schools
Louise Firrell IEU(SA) Equity Committee Ms Sherifa Khan, the Education Officer for the Muslim Women’s Association, was the speaker at the seminar held at the Education Development Centre on 28 October. The session was informative and provided a forum for questions that may be difficult to ask in other settings. Sherifa dealt with many of the issues that staff and students have to manage on a daily basis, such as hijabs, daily prayers, fasting during Ramadan, school attendance on feasts and holidays, sex education and male/female interactions, inclusivity and multicultural celebrations.
She stressed the importance of teachers communicating with parents over these issues and not making assumptions about the level of education that the parents may or may not have.
The role of the school is to ensure that it provides a supportive environment that is multi-cultural, not anti-cultural (for example schools who excise Christmas from their programs) and to ensure that there are appropriate policy frameworks in place to deal with racism, bullying and equity issues in case they are needed. While 40% of Australia’s Muslim population was born in Australia, schools have to manage many of the culturally diverse new arrivals to the country. Many have fled difficult circumstances and have complex challenges to manage as they try to settle into new lives with little English and often a lot of emotional turmoil. The school and therefore teachers are at the frontline for many young people in this situation. The Muslim Women’s Association can direct you to useful resources to help support your programs and promote better cultural understanding. Sherifa suggested ‘Ten things I hate about me’ and ‘Does my head look big in this’ by Randa AbdelFattah as engaging texts for adolescent girls. They are not about Islam but are very accessible stories to spark discussion about common issues for this age group but from a Muslim girl’s perspective. Muslim Women’s Association SA Torrens Building 220 Victoria Sq, Adelaide, SA 5000 ph: (08) 8212 0800
EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
Who’s Who at IEU(SA) Introducing Anne Edwards
by Shirley Schubert Both of Anne’s parents were teachers and she grew up in the country – Nuriootpa, Minlaton and Millicent. She remembers her mother complaining because her father (the Headmaster) was always up at the school on weekends. When her mother (the English teacher) was up until midnight marking essays, Anne remembers her father complaining that her mother didn’t have to write an essay back to the students. “I remember the anxiety leading up to the publishing of the exam results in the Advertiser, and the excitement or disappointment when their students did well or badly. I remember the whispered voices about the Parents and Friends meeting that didn’t go well. I remember that it didn’t matter where we went on holiday, there was always someone who came up and said that mum and/or dad had taught them 20 years ago.” She also remembers the quirks that can go with having parents as teachers in her own experience of school. After attending kindy at Nuriootpa, Anne very conveniently turned 5 the day school started, which meant that her mother could return to full-time teaching firstly at Minlaton Primary School then at the High School. Anne’s brother, when taught by their mother, infuriated her by calling her “Mum” at school and “Mrs Mueller” at home. After a year at Millicent High School, Anne spent a year boarding at Wilderness – the first time she had not had at least one of her parents at the school she attended. Perhaps she enjoyed the experience a bit too much? When the family moved to Adelaide, Anne’s mother went to teach at Woodlands and
“The next year, I was moved there so that she could keep an eye on me.” Neither Anne nor her two brothers became teachers! But she knows the joys and the demands of this profession better than most. So how did a nice girl like Anne come to work for the Independent Education Union? She worked her way to us via a career in that other noble profession, nursing. After spending a couple of years at Adelaide University doing Science, Anne realised that she was enjoying her part-time job as a Nurse Assistant far more than peering down microscopes, so she left Uni and trained as a Registered Nurse at the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Later, when nursing became a university course, Anne completed a Bachelor of Nursing at Salisbury CAE. She never regretted her decision to leave Science. “To be able to share such personal experiences with the patients I cared for and hopefully help make their experience a more positive one was a great privilege.”
“Both have struggled to get recognition for their profession and of their value. Both groups struggle to recognise and reward expert practitioners to keep them at the bedside or in the classroom. Many in both groups see their work as a vocation rather than just a job. Many find it hard to take industrial action in support of the big, long term picture, because in the short term patients/kids miss out. This means that both Teachers and Nurses are easily exploited. I think that both groups do not yet fully appreciate just how much they could achieve both in their own workplace and also for their professions if they worked together.” Anne, in her own words, has described the dedication to supporting others which is both a personal and a familial trait. Her parents were hardworking educators who saw teaching as their life work; her Aunt, Dr. Merna Mueller, was the sole young doctor prepared to work in the fledgling medical practice at Ceduna more than 55 years ago, caring for the people of the Far West Coast for more than 20 years; her adult children are both lawyers – her daughter works in Adelaide, and her son, who is fluent in Mandarin, is working for a Law firm in Beijing. Anne enjoyed visiting her son in Beijing in 2004 when he was studying at Peking University. Initially a bit disappointed that he wasn’t studying French rather than Mandarin, because China didn’t interest her one bit, Anne found when she got there that she loved the place, especially the south which is stunningly beautiful. Of course, Anne even got a chance to experience the Chinese Health system first hand when she slipped coming down a mountain and broke her arm. “The hospital had concrete floors, and the beds looked more like camp stretchers. The Xray equipment looked archaic. I am sure that the facilities in the cities are better, but all the same, we are very lucky in this country.” Anne has also been to Vietnam twice and you can read about her participation in the APHEDA bicycle challenge elsewhere in this EdU edition.
Anne worked at the Nurses Union for 17 years. She is constantly struck by the parallels between Nursing and Teaching. EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
What’s your problem...? an interactive column If you have a question about your employment conditions that requires a prompt response, call the office and ask to speak to the duty officer of the day. If it is something that is not urgent, or you think that may be generally relevant to other members, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org Identify yourself by name or membership number and any queries that are not selected for publication will be responded to personally.
Notification to Attend a Meeting
I have received a formal letter (or notice of meeting letter) from the principal without any warning. I know we chatted about an issue earlier in the year but notes were not taken and nothing was recorded. What do I do now? This seems to happen frequently. An issue raised early in the year or even in a previous year and a ‘chat’ with the principal or deputy principal seemed to have resolved the issue. Nothing further is mentioned. Then out of the blue, a letter is received formally stating that the employee is under review for work related matters. At this point, as the request has been formalised by the employer, a formal response is required. It is your right to be represented at the meeting and your responsibility to arrange for this to happen. If you are an IEU Member, contacting the IEU Office is the first step and we will help you provide a response which would include notifying the convenor that you will be represented at the meeting. It would also include a request for the material on which the employer intends to rely at the meeting and an agenda. If an IEU Officer is unavailable to meet at the specified time, it is reasonable to reschedule the meeting to a more suitable time. While you are waiting for the meeting, collect and collate any information that you wish to rely on. This includes current and past school policies, letters, programs and diary notes. Some time before the meeting, get together with your representative for a briefing. Representatives are present at meetings to provide support, represent you, provide group balance, take notes on your behalf, and to be a first hand witness at the meeting. Make sure your representative has all of the facts that may be deemed important. Honesty is the best policy. Once your IEU Officer has all of the information he or she may advise you to take an alternate path to the one originally suggested. Your
IEU Officer will treat information you provide to them as confidential. The representative will be an advocate for you and, if the need arises, question the information and its validity as well as challenge process or comments if necessary. If any or all of the parties at the meeting become frustrated, angry or move away from the agenda, a halt to the meeting should be requested so that participants have a chance to collect their thoughts. It is best if either you and your representative or the administration team leave the room. If you leave, take all of your documents with you. This gives you a chance to check through your documentation and discuss with your representative how the meeting is progressing. Keep to the agenda. If new information is raised at the meeting that you were unaware of, you don’t need to respond to that immediately. Ask for another meeting to discuss this new information so that you have time to prepare a thoughtful and concise reply. At the conclusion of the meeting ask your representative for a copy of their notes. Management may provide you with minutes of the meeting. If you don’t agree with aspects of the minutes, you need to respond. After the meeting don’t sign any documents until you have provided a copy to your IEU Officer and discussed the outcomes. Keep all documentation in case it is required. The Officers at the IEU are skilled in ensuring that these issues are dealt with fairly. Give the IEU office a call if you get a formal letter. It may alleviate some of the anxiety involved with these issues and ensure that the best possible outcome is achieved.
EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
Up close and personal
Anne Edwards Organiser and education to people with HIV/AIDS and their families.
In 2006, I was one of 12 Australian unionists who decided to participate in the APHEDA Vietnam bicycle challenge. The idea was to fundraise for the projects APHEDA run in Vietnam and cycle 500km through the Vietnamese countryside. Because the itinerary referred to a 10km steep gradient ride on one of the days I thought I’d better do some training. I’d never had a bike as a kid and was terrified of riding on the roads. At first I would dismount and cross at the pedestrian crossing when I came to big intersections. On New Years Day 2007, having raised over $20,000, we flew out with our bags packed with padded lycra, vaseline and bike helmets. After a few days of general sightseeing, we went to visit the projects in Hai Dong Province near Hanoi.
APHEDA provides adult training materials to help in the education and interaction of club members and the community, by facilitating role playing, games and experience sharing. A woman who had lost her son to AIDS the day before thought she knew one of us, Terri Daktyl, and although neither spoke each other’s language, they instinctively knew what each was saying and began crying and hugging each other. We were all very subdued on the bus on the way back to Hanoi. By chipping in just $20 each, we were able to buy a “Cyclo” tourist pushchair for a young HIV+ man and set him up in a tourist business to support his family. The bike ride itself was a great way to get a close up view of Vietnam. The kids were fascinated by ageing Aussies wearing bike helmets and lycra riding through their villages. We were often mobbed. The food and the beer was fabulous and boy did we earn a good feed on some days. Riding on Highway 1 with the trucks was challenging. There is only 1 road rule in Vietnam – give way to anything that has a louder horn than you. Many of us were run off the road. I found out later that Vietnam has more than 12,000 road deaths a year. There has been a tragic postscript to our trip. In March this year, Terri Daktyl who was a friend and colleague was killed in a car accident. The SA APHEDA group decided to fundraise in Terri’s memory. Over $9,000 has already been raised which is enough to build a new clubroom for the HIV/AIDS project.
I was shocked to learn that the effects of Agent Orange were continuing through each generation and that currently there are 3,000 child victims of Agent Orange in Hai Dong alone. The Vocational Training Project is designed to assist disabled people gain employment. They learn embroidery and lace-work, precious stone shaping and cutting, and knitting for export markets.
Terri Daktyl, above right, with mother of AIDS victim
We learnt that the one child policy in China has resulted in a shortage of women and which in turn has led to trafficking of Vietnamese women. Those who escape and return to Vietnam are often shunned by their families. This project provides women with training in livestock raising. The visit to the HIV/AIDS club was the most moving. Nationally there are over 280,000 people who are HIV+ and 8,300 new cases diagnosed each year. The HIV/AIDS club provides support
EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
INTRODUCING... Teachers Health & Tony Johnston
Caring for Teachers
When teachers’ health matters, we’re there… The Teachers Health difference
Now serving South Australia better
Teachers Health is the health fund that cares exclusively for education workers and their families.
It is with pleasure that we welcome Tony Johnston to the team at Teachers Health. Tony is based in SA and will be serving the teaching community as your Member Liaison Coordinator.
Created by a group of forward-thinking teachers over 50 years ago, Teachers Health offers access to high benefit health cover, with low contributions. With over 91,000 members, Teachers Health is the largest restricted access health fund in Australia. As a not-for-profit fund you can be confident that your interests - not shareholders - are at the centre of all that we do. Our operating costs are consistently around half the industry average and we give back 96% of contribution income to members as benefits - that’s significantly higher than the industry average.
Tony has a unique understanding of the everyday needs of teachers, having worked for SATISFAC for a number of years. Tony has great plans on how to best serve the teachers of SA and we’re confident that you will find his knowledge, dedication and enthusiasm beneficial. Look out for him at your school or union events!
Dare to compare In another health fund? Dare to compare and see the Teachers Health difference for yourself! If you choose to switch and enjoy the excellent benefits we have to offer, we’ll help you with a smooth transition - you won’t even have to
re-serve waiting periods for a similar level of cover.
Thinking about health insurance? Think Teachers Health! How you’ll benefit from belonging to Teachers Health Teachers Health is the health fund that cares exclusively for education union members & their families. We’re not-for-profit - Members get the benefits, not shareholders. We understand the stresses that affect your health. We offer a range of products to suit all budgets and life stages. Our benefits are designed to suit you.
Find out more at www.teachershealth.com.au Or call us on 1300 728 188
EdU December 2008 IEU(SA)
Independent Education Union South Australia 213-215 Currie Street Adelaide SA 5000 Phone 8410 0122 Country caller 1800 634 815 Fax 8410 0282 email@example.com www.ieusa.org.au
EdU is a quarterly journal of non-government education issues, published by the Independent Education Union of South Australia.