Together News! An Update for all DET Union Members
This week Together delegates met with Departmental representatives at two important forums. The quarterly "Agency Consultative Committee" or ACC meeting, which is the formal consultative process under our EB, met yesterday. On Tuesday, Together therapy delegates met with the Department to commence the Attraction and Retention Review for Therapy Staff in DET.
Here is a quick run-down on what outcomes we have had from these meetings:
At the ACC meeting Together delegates Sharon Abbott, Perry Mitchell, Paul Goulevitch, Sandra Lewis and Megan Seymour represented members on the following issues.
The issue of extreme workloads for regional office based staff has been raised now at two meetings. We raised the fact that when there are (absolutely necessary) increases in school based staffing there has been no commensurate increase in regional office staff who do the payroll, HR and other functions to support schools and school based staff. Additional projects are being added all the time without additional resources. We need to see some action to address these critical issues as members wellbeing and safety is at risk. Arising from the ACC a specific set of talks to try and find solutions is being set up with Des Kluck and ADG HR Leigh Pickering. We will be calling for nominations from delegates as to who wants to attend. If you want to be involved and have your say then contact us here or delegate Paul Goulevitch in North Coast Region.
In addition to the general concerns we also raised issues about the additional tasks that have been added to the Senior Injury Management Consultant role. Organisational Health have committed to update us on the outcome of the IPAR Working Parties and to talk with SIMCs about how to address this additional workload.
We are also still prosecuting the case for the restoration of school cleaning advisers. Sharon Abbott has done a great job of representing these issues. The Department have still not released the Review in to this work that was conducted last year. As soon as it is released to us we will share it with members.
Science Operations Officers – Review of Roles, Allowances and Next Steps
Sandra and Megan did a great job of prosecuting the case for an urgent review of the SOO role. This is a key part of the ‘unfinished business’ from the ROSAS. Decoupling the SOO allocation from the administrative allocation in schools and reviewing the roles to have them classified as Technical Officers. We also raised the issue of the inconsistent application of allowances. We didn’t get an immediate answer in the meeting however this is going to be addressed out of session.
The Department have committed to commence the role description review for SOOs and work with us on potential TO stream roles in late September. This is a big step forward!
Before we have this meeting we have also secured a meeting with Education Minister Kate Jones about these issues on the 7 September.
SOO members remember the member teleconference to discuss our position and next steps is Tuesday 29 August, 11am. Dial in: 3036 8888 Enter Pin: 19654258
Gains and Losses – Business Managers and AOs
Sharon raised the important issue of gains and losses and the advice to Business Managers. We have been trying to secure an extra year of funding for those BMs who were upgraded in RoSAS. The Department did not provide a final response yesterday however said they will discuss it with us further. This certainly indicates that it may not be a blanket ‘yes’ from the Department however there may be some ability to negotiate further. We are awaiting advice from the Deputy Director General about this. Stay tuned!
WEBSITE UPDATES - One Portal – the Schools Officers Page and Other Matters
The Department has been moving documents on OnePortal and the DET website and have been restructuring the site. In doing this several important bits of information were moved. Perry raised the issue about the loss of the critical resources schools officers used to be able to reference. The Department have committed to restoring those links, however, we need to identify what we want back up. If you have views on what should be restored email us here and we’ll add that to the list!
The Department have also committed to including Agricultural Assistants on the ‘who works for us’ page of the website and to restoring the PDs for school support staff to the site to be able to be accessed by staff.
Remember if you are looking for up to date PDs as a union member you can find them at the relevant page of your union website: www.together.org.au/schools
IT Staff in Schools
Remember to join in your Together teleconference for IT staff in schools next Tuesday at 3pm. Tuesday 29 August, 3pm. Dial in: 3036 8888 Enter Pin: 19654258
We will discuss the new IT funding, temporary to permanent process and our what positions Together delegates Len and Rikki will put on behalf of IT staff when they meet with the Minister on 7 September.
School Endorsement Form – No Real Movement
We are still waiting for a finalised version of the ‘school endorsement form’ or the process to identify that as school support staff you are working to a different approved PD and that you can be appointed to that role. It is back out for consultation with Regional Office staff. We are eager to progress this and have made that clear! Unfortunately at this stage we predict it will not be released until Term 4. In the mean time if you are working to a higher level PD you should still discuss this with your Principal and identify an appropriate 'relieve above level' process if they are asking you to work to a higher level role.
Therapy Staff – Attraction and Retention Review
The first meeting of the Review was on Tuesday 22 August. Delegates did a great job of elaborating on the issues of pay parity and working conditions between DET and other therapists in the public sector. The Review Working Party will report back to the ACC in November. A lot more to talk about! The next meeting is on 13 September.
For a full report back join the therapist members teleconference Thursday 31 August, 2pm. Dial in: 3036 8888 Enter Pin: 19654258
Speech Pathology Week runs 20-26 August. DET's speech-language pathologists are vital members of the educational team, supporting access and inclusion of students with speech language communication needs in the classroom.
Temporary to Permanent!
Thanks to the great work of Together union members we now have a new process where long term temporary staff can apply to be made permanent.
We have had over 400 members in DET and state schools complete surveys regarding their temporary employment status. We have been able to submit a large number of individual applications for review and have had some great success with many members now being confirmed permanent in their roles. Congratulations to all those members! Sadly, this outcome is not universal. There have been some members knocked back and those members can decide to appeal that decision. Remember to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about your application or next steps.
We were expecting to discuss the 300 school-based staff applications this week however the Department is seeking additional advice from the Public Service Commission and now that meeting is scheduled for next Tuesday 29 August. You still have time as a school based temporary employee to fill in the survey and be on the list for the first round of discussions! Remember to fill in the survey and review the fact sheets HERE.
We have noted that some advice circulating about temporary to permanent conversion may need to be challenged – for example – long term temporary employees are not displaced by other employees on the transfer list. If you need advice about your circumstances contact us at email@example.com. Union members receive representation and advice on these issues.
Have a question?
Remember if you have a question or need advice contact your union office on 1800 177 244 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For school based staff you can also find lots of useful information on the Together schools website.
We look forward to talking to you all soon!