So far, 2023 has seen a large movement of staff in our system. Many members have changed workplaces, graduates have secured positions, staff have changed time fractions, career changers are entering our schools in greater numbers, CRTs are taking on longer contracts, and there has been a big increase in new education support employees.
As an AEU member, the most important task at the start of the year is to ensure that you have conversations with new staff and non-members to ask them to join the union. Whether this is a coordinated approach through the sub-branch, or just part of a staffroom chat with a new colleague, we know the most common response when we ask people why they haven’t joined their union is that no one has asked them.
Why join the AEU?
So many reasons! As a union, we work hard to represent the interests of our members, in your workplaces, across the system, and at the national and international level. We advocate for public education, bargain and negotiate for your pay and conditions, and engage with governments, the department and other stakeholders on your behalf regarding professional and industrial issues.
We also conduct important research and develop policies that directly support member campaigns. We lobby governments for better funding to address the many inequities within the education system, and we actively engage with government and the department on solutions for pressing issues, such as staffing shortages.
The AEU also campaigns on issues that directly affect our members and the students we work with every day, whether that is climate, equality or the Voice to Parliament campaign. We are proud of our history of campaigning on progressive issues.
This year, we begin by focusing on making sure that all ES and new graduates have been asked to join the union. Many graduates are student members of the AEU who have recently upgraded to full membership (with a 40% discount for the first year). Being a new graduate can be daunting, and it is important to feel included, whether as part of the sub-branch or as part of our broader graduate networks and community.
We offer valuable professional development opportunities for graduates that give them an opportunity to engage with us on the issues that affect them. We ask that you make new graduates aware of the AEU and encourage them to join.
The wins that the AEU has been able to achieve for education support staff in the VGSA 2022 are a credit to our very active and engaged ES members. These wins have been campaigned on and fought for over successive agreements. All members should feel proud of these achievements, and encourage ES to join the AEU and get involved in our networks, because it makes a difference.
The new agreement brings significant wins for ES, such as the changes to Work Dimensions and salary increases that recognise the lower starting point. Importantly, too, it fixes the negative impact that contract employment has on ES members’ ability to make future financial decisions.
The union is made up of the people who know what needs to change to make things better. Ask your new colleagues to join the AEU today.