AEU Member Resources

Q&A – AEU Stop Work Meetings

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Q. Who decided we should hold Stop Work Meetings?

  • Your Elected AEU Branch Executive is directing all members (teachers, senior staff and Education Support Personnel to take two-hour stop action and attend a 9am union meeting nearest their workplace (meeting locations will be on the AEU website)
  • All members are expected to follow the directive and attend a meeting

Q. Why are we taking action now? 

  • Our students are missing out, teachers and support staff are burning out and the Rockliff Government promised to “lead the nation in education” but refuse to fund and support the solutions provided by educators.
  • You put in extra hours each week, effectively working unpaid from Thursday lunchtime, the Government will not even provide funding equal to what it gives to Private Schools.
  • The State Government, through its departments, is deliberately dragging its heels and not taking our concerns seriously.
  • None of the EBAs (Teachers, PSUWA, AHP) have progressed because the Government is refusing to commit to any of the solutions detailed in AEU member Log of Claims.
    • The Government has had the Teachers LOC since August 2021 (13 months! and still no commitment to deliver a single fix for any of the urgent issues.
  • Escalated action is required to force the Government, and the Premier, to take our concerns seriously and start making some commitments.
  • We have written to the Premier seeking his help and intervention and he said “no”.
  • We are left with no other options than to take stop work action. 

Q. I’m an AEU member but do I have to participate?

  •  You should because your elected leadership has directed you to. 
  • And you should because we can only win by working together and supporting each other.
  • Our power comes from being part of a collective and that means everyone counts.

Q. Can non-members participate?

  • We can’t really stop them but it would be very foolish for them to do so because they won’t have the protection and services of the union to support them.
  • Instead they should join the AEU now!

Q. Is this stop work action for everyone or just teachers?

  • All AEU members so this includes Support Staff, Professional Support Staff, Senior Staff and Teachers
  • The Government has shown the same lack of respect to all members and has been dragging its feet with all the EBA negotiations.  
  • We welcome families and others  to support the action and attend the meetings.

Q. After I leave home can I drop into school quickly on the way to the Stop Work Meeting?

  • No
  • If you enter school/college grounds you may incur Duty of Care responsibilities and then be unable to leave.
  • Travel from your home direct to your nearest Stop Work Meeting location and only after that meeting has finished should you then make your way to work. 

Q. Will this action mean my school will close?

  • Yes it may – it will depend on the numbers of staff who take action and on what DOE decide to do.
  • If the principal thinks there will be insufficient numbers of staff to safely open the school and manage duty of care responsibilities, then they will advise the DOE of this.
  • Ultimately, it is the Education Minister who will decide if your schools closes.
  • It is then the responsibility of the Department to notify parents of alternate school hours/closures/arrangements.  

Q. Will my pay be docked?

  • Yes, it may.
  • You may lose pay for the period of time you were absent from work.

Q. Will I be docked two hours’ pay?

  • Yes, that would be the expected amount but it will vary a little from person-to-person and workplace to workplace depending on normal start times and travel time required to attend meetings.
  • For example, if you are normally required to start work at 8:30am and will not return to work from your meeting until 10:30am due to travel, this may be calculated differently to members whose normal start time is 8:40am.

Q. What if I am an AEU member and intended to take action but am then sick on the day, will my pay still be docked?

  • No
  • Just follow the usual protocols required for when you are unwell and unable to attend work.

Q. What if my students turn up to school during the stop work action and I’m not there – how does Duty of Care work?

  • It is up to the principal and DOE to manage duty of care – not you

IF THE SCHOOL IS TO REMAIN OPEN

  • This is because the principal deems there will be sufficient staff onsite to manage duty of care

IF THE SCHOOL IS TO CLOSE

  • The decision to close your school will be made by the Education Minister.
  • The DOE must then advise parents not to send their children to school until the revised opening time? 

Q. Won’t stop work action just annoy parents and disrupt learning?

  • Yes, some parents will be annoyed, and some may be quite vocal, but in our previous experience the vast majority of parents will be supportive because they know we are fighting for a better education for their kids. 
  • A 2 hour strike will make no impact on students learning when compared to the impact of the ongoing underfunding and under-resourcing.
  • Learning will be briefly disrupted but because of under resourcing, the reality is learning is disrupted every day, week in, week out, year in, year out and that’s what we ask the government to urgently address
    • Collapsed classes; long waits for professional support staff; inadequate 1-1 time with teachers, lack of in-class support from ESS and ESPs are all examples of daily disruptions to optimal learning.
  • We hope that the government is sufficiently concerned about “disrupted learning” to finally do something about it!
  • Also, we are in communication with parent and other stakeholders and school associations to explain the issues and the reasons for actions.

Q. Our parent body would like to attend and take part in the action?

  • That would be awesome if your parent community would support the teachers and they are very welcome to attend the meetings.
  • But there are many other ways they could help – if they are keen ask to email our communications team (jamesk@aeutas.org.au) who can have a follow-up chat with them.

Q. How can I reach out to families about the stop work action?

  • Ask your principal and/or Rep about how is best to talk/communicate with                      your school association?
  • Then if you need help with content give us a call.

Q. What communication will the AEU send to families?

  • We have already mailed the Lifting Learning booklet along with a letter to all School Association Presidents and offered to meet with them.
  • We will also now follow up with a letter to School Associations about the planned stop work action.

Q. What if my School has a special event such as a swimming carnival planned for the date and time of the meeting?

  • Your school can apply for an exemption. 
  • • If your school has exceptional circumstances/events then they may apply for an exemption for some members to miss the stop work action.
  • To apply for an exemption please email the State Manager (Brian Wightman Brianw@aeutas.org.au) stating your case.

Q. Can I be asked if I am a union member by my manager/principal?

  • No – your employer does not have the right to ask this question.
  • If you’re feeling pressured call us.

Q. Can my manager/principal ask me whether I am taking part in the stop work action?

  • All AEU members have been directed to take action and attend Stop Work Meetings and the vast majority of educators are members of the AEU, so it should be assumed that most educators will be participating in the action.
  • It is reasonable for principals to assume that most staff will be participating and make recommendations to DoE on that basis. It is also reasonable that they ask staff about participation to know whether the school should prepare to close or remain open, so yes they may ask this question.

Q. As a Rep do I have to let the principal know all the members who are attending?

  • All AEU members have been directed to take action and attend Stop Work Meetings and the vast majority of educators are members of the AEU, so it should be assumed that most educators will be participating in the action.
  • It is reasonable for principals to assume that most staff will be participating and make recommendations to DoE on that basis. It is also reasonable that they ask staff about participation to know whether the school should prepare to close or remain open, so yes they may ask this question.

Q. What do I do if my manager or principal says I can’t attend the stop work rally?

  • That is not an appropriate direction for anyone to make.
  • As a union member you are entitled to participate in this union action.
  • If you are feeling pressured in any way not to participate, then please give us a call for advice. 

Q. Is this strike illegal?

  • No!
  • What we are doing is perfectly legal and no different to actions we took during previous EBA campaigns.

Q. Do I have to start work at my workplace before attending the Rally?

  • No!
  • Please travel directly from your home to your union meeting location, without any detours to your workplace. 
  • If you attend your workplace first it can confuse duty of care responsibilities.

Q. My normal start time is 8:20am/8:15am, should I attend work before stopping at 8:30am?

  • No, please travel directly from your home to your union meeting location, without any detours to your workplace. 
  • If you attend your workplace first it can confuse duty of care responsibilities.
  • Depending on travel time from your meeting location, you may get back to work earlier than 10:30am, but your ‘Stop Work’ time will be calculated from the time you are normally required to start until you return to work. If this totals more than 2 hours, you may have more than 2 hours docked from your pay if the DoE pursues it.
  • If you are required to attend work any earlier than 8:15am on the day, please contact us for advice: support@aeutas.org.au

Q. Can I bring non-members to the rally?

  • A much better idea would be to sign them up as members first.
  • It’s very unwise for non-members to participate because they are not eligible for union support and advice.
  • Offer them a ride once you have got their membership form!

Q. I would like to participate but I really cannot afford to lose any pay?

Q. Do I need to sign in when I arrive at school after the stop work.

  • Yes, you should notify your line manager/principal when you are on site – follow your workplace’s normal sign-in processes.
  • But remember, don’t go onsite until after the stop work action.

Q. Will members from other unions be joining us – e.g EFAs (UWU), SBMs (CPSU) etc ?

  • Other union members are very welcome to join us however it is up to their union leadership whether they direct them to participate. 

Q. What if I have school children in a school that will be closing?

  • Apart from using your existing networks and supports, you may bring your kids along to the meetings – just make sure you allow time to get them and yourself to your respective schools afterwards.

THE STOP WORK MEETINGS

  • Locations of the stop work meeting locations and other details will be on the AEU website

Q. Can I attend any meeting I like?

  • It is recommended that you attend your nearest meeting location.
  • The stop work action is for two hours and we’re allowing about 30 mins for you to travel to your meeting location and then on to your workplace.

GENERAL CAMPAIGN QUESTIONS

Q. Can I wear my campaign t-shirt to school?

  • You can but…if your principal/line manager directs you to remove it (not wear it again) remain calm and call us straightaway for advice about your particular circumstances.
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