It’s been a year like no other – a year that has highlighted both the value of educators and our strength in union.

We started the year on a high with new Agreements to be rolled out across schools, colleges and TAFE that bring a long list of benefits and improvements to the working conditions of teachers and education staff.

Here’s a quick summary of the improvements won in the new Agreements without any loss of conditions:

Pay rises:

  • 1% – teachers, school psychologists and principals
  • 3% – ESP/Support Staff

PLUS:

  • 1% additional relativity increase for ASTs (3.1% total increase)
  • New principals classification and review
  • Incentive allowance for principals in isolated schools
  • School psychologists can access Band 1 Level 13, after being on Band 1 Level 12 for 12 months
  • Increase to Health Care Procedures Allowance – $13.20 to $30 (127% increase) per week
  • Increase to Toileting Allowance for Teacher Assistants from $13.20 to $15 per week, with a further increase to $17 for those working in Special Support Schools
  • ESPs/support staff leave with pay or TOIL of up to a maximum of 9 total public holidays in a calendar year
  • Corrections Allowance of 6.5%

Primary Instructional Load Reduction:

  • Two-hour a fortnight reduction of instructional load for all primary teachers made possible by the recruitment of additional teachers, centrally funded

Teacher Assistants – A career pathway for TAs with the transition of the Education Support Specialist becoming part of the Teachers Agreement and receiving 52 weeks’ pay

Isolated Schools – Paid time off for teachers in isolated schools to attend to urgent personal business

New Educators – BeTTR extended with a further one-hour reduction in instructional load for new educators in their second year of teaching

Professional Activity Days – Review of PA Days with no PL/team meetings to go past 5.00pm

Reporting – comprehensive reporting review including Kinder and Years 11/12

In-class support – complexities of classes to be recognised and the necessary PD/duty reduction/additional support to be provided

Superannuation employer contributions – for employees on workers compensation and while on unpaid parental leave.

Family Friendly provisions – three weeks paid partner leave and 16 weeks’ paid parental leave.

Yes, it’s a long list. AEU Reps and Organisers are working with members to ensure the Agreement is implemented at every workplace.

COVID-19 Response

When COVID-19 began making its way to our state AEU members and their representatives were quick to act. Advocacy for members and negotiations with heads of government and DoE produced a number of positive outcomes:

  • Student free days were secured to give members time to plan and prepare for a transition to learning at home.
  • The government and DoE adopted strong language and advice around learning at home other than essential workers and where students were unable to be supported.
  • Working from home guidelines were implemented to ensure vulnerable members were safe and protected.
  • Relief (casual) Members – extended negotiations secured ongoing employment and income for relief members – over 15,000 hours per fortnight was centrally funded.
  • Communicable Diseases Leave list was been updated to include COVID-19.
  • New special COVID-19 paid leave of up to 4 weeks, also available to members employed on a casual basis.

Is that all?

Well that’s a lot, but no, that’s just part of the work of the AEU in 2020. Here’s some more:

Working Groups: as a member-led union, further reviews and improvements to conditions are being guided by groups of members focused on particular areas.

  • Principals Working Group – negotiating principles developed and approved with broad participation. Interim methodology for calculating Principal Higher Duties Allowances has been agreed and AEU principals backpaid to the beginning of Term 1.
  • Reporting Working Group – guiding a root and branch review of reporting with the aim of producing best practice guidelines.
  • A 9-12 member working group is engaged in consultation on the 9-12 Project that involves significant proposed changes to curriculum, programs and attainment.
  • An isolated schools working group is reviewing options for improving incentives and conditions to attract and retain quality teachers and support staff.
  • A new Aboriginal educators committee is engaging members to work on issues important to ATSI members.
  • The AEU workload working group is working on improving processes and workload improvements around attendance, individual learning plans, PA days and risk management.

Individual Member Support and Advocacy

The AEU Member Support Centre (MSC) team work with members every day to support them in resolving work issues.

Recent member wins include a member successfully challenging an employment process they believed was unfairly conducted and a member winning significant backpay and a new band level after being incorrectly classified.

When members identify issues that are of a structural or systemic nature and affect a number of members, AEU representatives seek to test these issues with members and advocate for them directly with heads of DoE and government.

For example, the latest success has been confirmation from the DoE that the Long Service Leave ‘1 week minimum’ will be approved on a pro rata basis for part time staff.

It’s exciting to be delivering wins for members in a tough year and seeing the value of AEU membership recognised with significant membership growth in 2020.

If you have any questions about the Australian Education Union and membership, please give our team a call on 6234 9500 or just email us: support@aeutas.org.au

You can join securely online any time on our website here: https://aeutas.org.au/join/

I hope this positive update finds you in good health and spirit.