Frequently asked questions - Assistant Teachers

Frequently asked questions - Assistant Teachers

What is a union?
A union is a collective of people who do the same type of work. For us, that is working with students in schools. We form together as a union to have a stronger voice. The more members we have, the stronger we are. We have always worked together. Australian unions have been standing with First Australians for many decades. In 1966 the North Australian Workers Union supported Vincent Lingiari to strike for land rights during the Wave Hill walk off.

What does the Australian Education Union NT do?
We help our members deal with problems at work. We talk with our members, find out what they need, and we then push Government and the Department of Education to make changes to our education system to improve things for everyone, including better conditions for Assistant Teachers and other Aboriginal support staff.

How does our union help Assistant Teachers?
If you have a problem at work, we can help you understand how to fix it. Our team in the office can answer questions about your pay and entitlements. We can talk with the Department about your working conditions and other issues that many Assistant Teachers face. We represent all Department employees in negotiations for improved pay and working conditions.

What sorts of gains has the union won for ATs?
Many of the conditions that ATs have were won by the union – by working together. As an AT you have access to things like paid Study Leave and the Remote Incentive Allowance that the union has negotiated with the Government and now protected in an industrial agreement.

Why should I join the union?
Joining the union is a chance to share your story and have your questions answered. Sharing your story helps us advocate for change. Being a member means that you can ask us for help with anything work-related. You may also receive opportunities to attend union training and our annual Conference.

What improvements is the union working on now for ATs?
We are working with the Department on a review of ATs’ roles and responsibilities. The AEU NT has lobbied the Government to reintroduce the RATE program, allowing ATs to learn on country to become fully-qualified teachers. We have convinced the Government to provide more housing for local school staff – we would like to see Assistant Teachers get access to Government-Employee Housing (GEH).

Does it cost money to join the union?
Yes. Assistant Teachers employed by the Department (NTG) pay $9.35 a fortnight. You can make payments every two weeks and have it deducted from your pay if you are employed by NTG. If you are employed by the school council, your membership fee works out to be $2.11 a week or $27.50 for each term.

Where does my money go?
Your membership fees are used to support our team at the office to help you and other members. Your membership fees are fully tax deductible. This means that you can claim your membership fees back at tax time. We will email you a statement telling you how much you have paid in fees each year. Call us at the office if you need to check this or did not receive your statement.

Frequently asked questions - Assistant Teachers

The Union and Assistant Teachers

How we help Assistant Teachers

  1. We have a low membership fee for Assistant Teachers, at a little more than $4 a week
  2. We advocate to the NT Government and Department of Education for improved conditions for ATs
  3. We can assist you with issues at work like making sure you're getting paid properly

Valerie Bulkunu, a teacher at Shepherdson College on Elcho Island, presenting a motion to our 2017 annual conference in her native Yolngu Matha language Valerie Bulkunu, a teacher at Shepherdson College on Elcho Island, presenting a motion to our 2017 annual conference in her native Yolngu Matha language

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Join the Australian Education Union

The Australian Education Union represents and advocates for all teaching staff in public education, as well as many support workers.

Office hours

Monday - Friday: 8:30am to 4:30pm
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Closed
Public holidays: Closed

© Authorised by Rachael Metcalfe, Branch Secretary, Australian Education Union Northern Territory Branch, Darwin (2023)

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