Schools Improving ES conditions in the agreement

Over the life of the current VGSA, more than 8000 ES staff have been translated from fixed-term to ongoing. This was directly connected to two improvements won in the VGSA 2017. The first of these wins meant all positions linked to Student Support Funding became ongoing, and that all future positions linked to disability
funding had to be advertised as ongoing.

The second win created a new central translation process in April each year, whereby DET identifies eligible staff it intends to translate. This takes the onus off the member to explain why they should be translated, instead requiring schools to demonstrate why they could not be translated.

These two wins were a direct response to members’ feedback, which was submitted by sub-branches and endorsed by AEU regions and the AEU joint primary and secondary sector council, becoming one of the union’s demands put to DET in our log of claims.

As members of the local sub-branch, ES members should be raising any proposed improvements with their sub-branch during Term 1. One of the most crucial elements of these discussions is working out how best to define the work that ES staff do in our schools, as the current dimensions of work can be ambiguous and not always used properly.

A number of ES members have joined the ES dimensions of work reference group, which aims to ensure the definitions of ES work in the next agreement more accurately reflect the duties performed.

Other proposed changes might be easily linked to general categories, such as pay, or workload. For example, under the heading of ‘pay’ a proposal might relate specifically to paid lunch breaks, or it might relate to a pay claim that seeks to better value the work of ES staff. Alternatively, it might reference the challenge of part-time employment when student support roles finish every day at the same time as the last class.

The clearer members are with the issue you’re trying to solve, the more readily it can be formulated into a demand through the log process.

The union would also like to build on the inclusion of the workload clauses for teachers – such as professional practice days, won in the last agreement – with clauses related to ES workload. Consider what changes to the agreement would enable more effective management of your workload – for example, providing extra time to complete administrative duties.

Term 1 in 2020 is the time we again start developing the union’s log of claims, with submissions due by 27 March. During Term 1, make sure you talk with your ES colleagues to identify specific improvements to the EBA. Let the rep know that ES members at the school would like to propose changes, and ensure that ES members can attend the sub-branch meeting to propose these improvements.

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