Schools The time for talk is now

  • By Meredith Peace
  • This article was published more than 4 years ago.
  • 12 Mar 2020

The start of a new year is always a busy time as schools welcome new students and staff, but with widespread bushfires and concerns around the novel coronavirus, 2020 has been particularly challenging.

I want to acknowledge all members for the important work you do, but especially those in areas where bushfires have decimated property and the landscape. Some members have lost their homes, Clifton Creek Primary School was burnt down, and many others have been living through constant smoke and the ongoing threat of fires. Others have been on the frontline fighting the fires. Despite these disruptions, our members still front up and make sure everything is ready when students arrive on the first day.

Beyond these challenges, 2020 is the year we start negotiations for a new agreement covering your conditions of work and salaries. By now, each school AEU sub-branch should have met or set a date to discuss and prepare a submission to the log of claims process. A log of claims is a document that sets out the matters the AEU will bargain for on behalf of members. Given negotiations are due to start with the education department later this year, it’s vital we begin our discussions now.

This is the time we want AEU members to be involved and active in your sub-branch and the work of your union. As a valued member, you will have ideas and
suggestions about how to improve your workload and working conditions. We are asking sub-branches to get together, share ideas and make a submission. The deadline for these submissions is 27 March, the last day of Term 1.

All members received a detailed email earlier in the term outlining the process and directing you to the AEU VGSA website. This includes a proforma the sub-branch can fill in and submit electronically, once it has endorsed the proposals you are putting forward.

During Term 2, sub-branch submissions from each region will be considered and debated by regional meetings across the state. If your sub-branch submits proposals to the draft log, a member from your sub-branch must attend your designated regional meeting. All supported proposals will then go to the Joint Primary and Secondary Sector Council for consideration in Term 3.

Once the content of the log of claims is determined, it can then be finalised and served on the DET and the government. We negotiate with DET, who will come to the
table with their own set of proposals and ideas. The bargaining process takes time, as the AEU leadership team negotiating on behalf of members advocates for the
proposals we have put forward.

This is one of those moments where we get to be involved in a process that directly impacts on your day-to-day work. Your involvement, your activism and the recruitment of new members are essential to achieving an agreement that is fair and reasonable. I look forward to seeing many of you either at your workplace or at a
regional meeting in the near future.

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