Following the 1 September deadline for agreeing on school consultative arrangements, Term 4 brings the business of consultation into clear focus as every school develops its long-term plan (LTP). The LTP is a record of how the VGSA2017 will be implemented in a school and, while each school chooses different matters to include, every school should have items relating to the working conditions of education support staff.
The VGSA2017 does not limit the number of items in a LTP that can refer to ES work, but it does explicitly specify time in lieu (TiL) and time to participate in the performance and development process.
Regardless of whether there are ES representatives on the consultative committee, these matters must be discussed through the consultative arrangement in every school and recorded in the LTP.
ES staff can access TiL, hour for hour, for work they perform outside their normal hours of duty. How this operates in a school should be set out in the LTP. This will provide members and schools with understanding about how to go about seeking work outside of normal hours as well as ensuring the arrangement is transparent, which provides protection for the ES staff member and prevents future misunderstandings.
Every effort should be made to avoid working outside normal hours, but where such work is unavoidable it is important to have a discussion before the work is expected to occur. This should involve a clear understanding about what work is to be done and how long it will take.
The TiL provisions should be used sparingly, and alarm bells should ring if TiL is being used regularly to ensure the completion of normal work duties. Such an occurrence suggests that the assigned work cannot be completed in the allotted time and a reduction in workload should occur.
Throughout Semester 2, the AEU has been running a campaign focused on implementing the 30+8 workload reduction for teachers. Although the 30+8 does not apply to ES staff, the steps to reducing ES workload are the same as for teachers and involve identifying the cause of the excessive workload, proposing solutions and then negotiating the inclusion of those solutions in the LTP.
Term 4 is the best time to include ES workload on the sub-branch agenda, alongside TiL and time to participate in the PD process.
ES working parties
The AEU is continuing to meet with ES networks around the state to gather member feedback on the ‘dimensions of work’. The review of the dimensions was agreed in the last round of negotiations and will provide in-depth information on how the dimensions are used in schools for the next round of bargaining. Feedback from all members is welcomed and can be delivered directly to the union through the ES organiser, Kathryn Lewis or through ES members who have been trained as reference group leaders. Of course, all ES members are invited to come along to your next ES network or regional meeting to make your contribution to this important work.