Member Bulletin Number 8 2019
In this bulletin:
- A message from the President
- Principal classification review
- Teacher permanency project to continue
- Remote housing security
- Underpayment of superannuation entitlements
- Christmas office closure
A message from the President
With another school year coming to an end, I’d like to thank all members for your continuing support of the AEU NT. I know some of you are retiring or leaving teaching or the Territory for other opportunities: thank you for your contribution to NT public education, and I wish you the very best for your future.
Our union has continued to make steady gains this year in membership numbers and also in getting wins for members, at both the individual and collective level.
None of our advocacy work would be possible without an intelligent, engaged and passionate membership base, which we are so fortunate to have.
Next year will be a big year in the Territory political cycle with an election in August. With your support, the AEU will be making sure education is front and centre in the political conversation and that we get strong commitments from all parties and candidates.
Wherever you are spending your Christmas and new year, I hope it is a safe, happy and restful time for you, surrounded by family and friends. We work in a very challenging profession and this is a vital period to rest and recharge.
Principal classification review
This week the AEU attended a briefing on Mercer’s review of principal classifications. This review has been done over many months by consulting with principals from across the Territory and also looking at employment conditions of principals interstate. Although the review’s recommendations are not yet public as they are subject to Cabinet approval, the AEU believes there is much to like for principal members in Mercer’s findings.
As a result of this review, we believe the basis has been laid for the development of:
- A fair and equitable classification structure for principals
- Clearer career pathways for principals and school leaders
- A realistic plan and timeline for the return of executive contract principals to permanent employee status.
We are excited to be working on this project and will be able to share more information in early 2020 once a new advisory group has been established.
Teacher permanency project to continue
Nearly 400 contract classroom teachers have been converted to permanent since Stage 1 of the teacher permanency project commenced in late 2017. With Stage 1 expiring in late February, the AEU is continuing negotiations with the Department to ensure pathways to permanency continue in 2020 and beyond. We have secured the following commitments:
- The Chief Executive will seek permission from the Commissioner for public Employment to continue the current practice of principals being able to offer permanency at a school level to eligible contract teachers.
- The Department will trial a direct appointment scheme for select remote schools (likely to commence in July 2020)
- Further work will be undertaken on the feasibility of appointing some teachers permanent “to the Department” rather than to an individual school.
Teacher permanency remains a number one issue for the AEU and we encourage any member who has been employed continuously on contracts for more than two years to contact the office to discuss your situation.
Remote housing security
Our team is working closely with the Department’s QSSS officers to be pro-active in managing security issues in remote communities over the break. In past years, vandalism and burglaries of teacher housing has been a problem in some remote localities.
If you have concerns about the security of your remote housing, we urge you to contact the office and we will follow up with the QSSS team. During the Christmas shutdown period, a union officer will be on call should you have an urgent housing security issue (see notice below on Christmas office closure arrangements).
Underpayment of superannuation entitlements
Public sector unions and employees were notified by OCPE last week of a problem across the NTPS which led to many employees being underpaid superannuation entitlements over the past decade.
The error was uncovered following a clarification of ATO rules published by the tax office earlier this year. The NTPS is just one of a number of employers who have now discovered they were not applying these rules in the correct way.
DCIS/Payroll and OCPE have announced they will now take the necessary steps to correct these underpayments and pay employees what they are owed, plus interest on unpaid superannuation. The average super underpayment is about $350.
DCIS has set up a website where you can find more information on this issue.
Christmas office closure
Our office will close at 4.30pm on Friday 20 December and reopen at 8.30am on Monday 6 January. During that time an officer will be on duty to attend to urgent matters only. Should you require urgent assistance, phone the office on 08 8948 5399 and a recorded message will provide instructions on how to contact a Full-Time Officer.
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