Federal Labor’s Secure Jobs, Better Pay Bill, to be implemented later this year, will impact on bargaining across the education and disability sectors, making it easier to negotiate pay and conditions across multiple employers.
Workers with common interests, such as those in disability and adult education, will be able to bargain together more effectively. More members covered by one agreement means more power – and more power means more wins.
Tackling funding issues in education and services is never easy, but campaigning to secure more funding and improve conditions and entitlements is core AEU work.
The AEU has a long history of campaigning for funding. The Rebuild with TAFE campaign has recently reaped rewards with federal Labor prioritising funding for TAFE, creating fee-free TAFE places and investing in infrastructure.
Since the Victorian Disability Service (NGO) Agreement 2019 expired on 31 December 2022, the AEU, HACSU, and disability service providers and their representatives, have been meeting to discuss the development of a ‘bargaining charter’. This includes principles to guide the negotiations, and outlines a commitment to cooperatively lobby governments for better funding to support the disability sector workforce.
The principles of the charter include: a commitment to multi-employer bargaining; protection of over-Award entitlements; maximising secure work and operational flexibility; disability workforce attraction and retention; best practice OHS standards; consultation and collaboration; and funding support. These are all important to ensure that high-quality services will be provided by qualified staff with good wages and conditions.
While negotiations continue, the AEU and HACSU have been able to secure some interim changes to the existing agreement, including improvements to the ‘discipline’ and split shift clauses, along with an adjustment to the way superannuation is paid, which will result in many members receiving thousands more in superannuation payments.
These interim improvement measures, while negotiations continue, will allow AEU members and the negotiation team to campaign, build pressure and lobby the government for a better funding deal for the sector and further improvements to your conditions and wages.
We know that for too long you have been undervalued by government when it comes to salaries and conditions. Getting the respect that you and your colleagues deserve, and winning improvements, is crucial.
The important work you do with clients must be better recognised and valued. This means building our power and asking your colleagues who are yet to join the union to get on board. We won’t achieve the changes our members need unless we all work together.
Show your colleagues how to join online at aeuvic.asn.au/join or hand them a membership form. Build the strength of the union in your workplace, and across the state.