Together Update – Meeting with Minister Grace Grace
As Term 1 draws to a close I am sure you are all looking forward to a well deserved break over Easter.
As a union we have a critical few months ahead as we try and secure a new EB agreement that will set out your wages and conditions for the next 3 years as well as working on systemic issues of resourcing and funding for public servants in state schools.
Remember – if you haven't already please vote in the wages poll. The poll for Together members closes tomorrow at 5pm. Your vote will decide if this is the claim we put to government.
Meeting with Minister Grace
Yesterday afternoon Together delegates representing therapists – Rineke De Regt, Sarah Reedman and Elisha Spackman – along with delegates representing Science Operations Officers – Nikki Bradford, Wendy Shearer, Sandra Lewis and Megan Seymour, met with Minister Grace Grace and outlined the key challenges facing these work groups and others.
Rineke, Sarah and Elisha spoke about the great divide that now exists between allied health professionals in Queensland Health and Education and the need for pay parity to ensure the sustainability of our great therapy workforce in the department of Education. We asked Minister Grace to come back to us and commit to promoting pay parity for therapy staff and ensuring that therapists in education will also be paid on the Health Practitioner stream. Minister Grace appreciates the pay equity principle and understands the importance of it for the doE therapy workforce. As Minister for IR she also has a full understanding of the industrial processes behind it and while she did not give any commitments yesterday she indicated that she will consider the issues from this perspective and agree to support the change.
Sandra, Megan, Wendy and Nikki talked about the significant issues facing science resourcing and that there needs to be a separation or ‘decoupling’ of the SOO allocations from AAEP/Administration funding in state schools. We know that this would benefit all our members in state schools across science and the administration streams.
The delegates also outlined the essential role they play in delivering quality STEM education, their technical skill and professional role, the critical role they play in safety and safely delivering the curriculum and safety in schools. Sandra and Megan presented the research about the qualifications SOOs have and the expertise they share. Wendy spoke about her work with the Australian Science Teachers Association and teaching practical experiments she designed after visiting NASA. Nikki shared her experiences of doing outreach work with regional and remote schools and the consultancy role she plays. The Minister was very interested to learn about this and committed to finding out more and coming back to us with her position as to whether or not she will be the champion for this necessary change.
Sharon Abbott, Vice President of Together, then raised several other issues including the broad under-resourcing and we talked about the significant problems with insecure employment in schools and across the department. We talked about the need to address the temporary to permanent conversion process in the Department as the current process is problematic. We need to see the government policy of employment security for hard working public servants implemented and not stalled in technical arguments.
Schools Officer Training – Cert III
Tomorrow morning Kate Flanders and Perry Mitchell are meeting with the Training team in the Department again to seek clarification and updates on the Certificate III training offered to schools officers. They will report back after that meeting.
Agricultural Assistants Review
The Agricultural Assistants Review is progressing. We are still waiting for an update from the Department confirming site visits in Term 2 to the schools identified as benchmark schools for the review. We will keep you posted!
Regional Office Workload Survey
If you work in a Regional Office we’d love to hear more from you about your workload experience to inform the negotiations that are continuing. Please find a survey HERE. Completed surveys to be emailed to email@example.com please!
I hope you all have a safe and happy Easter period.
If you have any questions or need to get in contact with our industrial staff here at Together remember you can contact us on 1800 177 244 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.