Together in Schools - Union News – Week 4!

Posted on May 11, 2020

We hope you are going well and that you have a good week as many more students return.

EB News

Last month the Department of Education Certified Agreement 2019 ballot was voted up in the all-staff ballot with a 96% yes vote. This is great news and tells the Department that the overwhelming majority of staff want them to certify the agreement with the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.

As the Department had not yet taken steps to certify the agreement, the Together office took steps on Friday last week to lodge an application with the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission seeking to certify the agreement. We’ll keep you updated on progress. Until the agreement is certified, the key changes negotiated will not be implemented, so that is why it’s important that the agreement is certified.

Also note:

We had a number of members contact us to say that they didn’t receive the email from Director General Tony Cook on Wednesday 22 April about the outcome of the EB ballot. If you didn’t get the advice directly about the outcome of the all-staff ballot from the DG, email this address and ensure you are on the email list: Communication.OFFICEDG@qed.qld.gov.au.

Online LCC Training

We are working on alternative ways of delivering Local Consultative Committee training to members who have stepped up and taken on the job as a Together representative on your school's LCC. Local consultative committees are the way you can have a say as union members in how your school runs.

If you are currently sitting on your school's LCC let us know here and we can keep you updated about what training is on offer.

Cleaning Playgrounds

We had a number of questions from members, particularly BMs and Schools Officers, last week about cleaning playgrounds. The clarification we have had from the Department is below and this will be reflected in the FAQ. We also understand that cleaners should be doing the cleaning of playgrounds and that schools have additional cleaning hours provided to assist with this task.

What actions do schools need to take in relation to playground equipment?

Schools may continue to allow student use of playground equipment as it is considered low risk. However, as part of our broader health and hygiene approach, a number of simple precautions should be taken:

  • ensure children wash their hands with soap or use hand sanitiser before and after using playground equipment and build this as part of their routine
  • actively manage group/class size using play equipment at any one time to avoiding overcrowding
  • regularly clean play equipment

Cleaning of playground equipment can take the form of using a detergent and water-based solution (as per product instructions), followed by hosing/rinsing and allowing equipment to dry. This approach can be taken using hose-sprayers, pressure sprayers or spray bottles according to the size and scale of the playground equipment. Safety is an important consideration when cleaning playground equipment and appropriate manual handling, PPE and working at heights considerations must be considered.  With a detergent solution based approach, there should be no need for staff to climb equipment. 

Vulnerable Staff

It's really important to remember that while students are returning to school over the next fortnight – with Prep, Year 1, Year 11 and Year 12 this fortnight and likely all remaining students on 25 May – that vulnerable staff, or those with a vulnerable person in their household, should still be supported to work from home or with all necessary risk mitigation. This advice is clear in the FAQ and DG's messages. These workers do not need new medical advice, the criteria has not changed since last week.

If you need any advice and support remember to get in touch with us on 1800 177 244 or email us at schools@together.org.au. We're here for you!

1800 177 244
members@together.org.au