Statement from ACTU Secretary Sally McManus on John Setka

13th June 2019

“Today I met and had a long and frank discussion with John Setka. I told him it is in the best interests of the union movement that he resigns.

“I have consulted a wide range of union leaders and they share this view.

“There are several matters currently before the court. If media reports are correct the allegations John is facing are serious. I also note that yesterday John said he would plead guilty to charges of harassing a woman using a carriage service.

“I have previously said that if these allegation are correct they are totally unacceptable. There is no place for perpetuators of domestic violence in leadership positions in our movement.

“I want to make it clear that I cannot comment in detail on those matters, and this is regardless of what John said he intends to do regarding these allegations. This is because I am bound by the law in this matter. These matters are still before the court. It is important I explain this as I know many people do not understand how these laws work, and that’s fair enough, everyone can’t be expected to by a legal expert and to know the ins and outs of the law.

“We have laws that prevent people, in particular people in public positions, making comment on matters that are before a court. This is so that the court can go through its processes without outside interference. This is so all parties have the benefit of a fair process.  This is an important principle and there are laws in place that prevent people making comments that interfere with this right.

“We have already put on record the union movement’s values and our principles regarding family and domestic violence. Everyone has a right to a safe home, workplace and community and we have been campaigning for many years for this. We also believe in equality for women and know that instances of violence against women are not just unacceptable, they stand in the way of achieving equality.

“I have also put on record our support for and total admiration of Rosie Batty whom we have campaigned beside and whose goals we share.

“Having these values means we must demonstrate them.

“Union officials and union members are doing this in workplaces across our country, supporting or standing up for victims of domestic violence and are working to achieve our goals.

“Unions have been, and will continue to, fight for improved rights to protect and support people leaving abusive relationships to protect themselves and often to also protect their children. This means unions are negotiating and winning paid leave so people can make these choices. This means having the discussions with employers, many of whom are supportive, but inevitably some who are not, and convincing them it is in our shared interest to implement measures that go towards the goal of ending family violence.

“As part of our work achieving these goals, we also invest in the education of our members, employers and the wider community in preventing family and domestic violence.

“This involves education on what it is, and how it is harmful, and what we can all do to prevent it. There are many forms of domestic violence, from denigration and abuse to the shocking statistic that as of today 21 women this year have been murdered by a partner or family member.

“This statistic does not include those women who have been murdered just by going about their lives, this number currently stands in our country at 69 women.  All forms of violence against women are unacceptable and we will continue our campaigns to end it.

“Right now, representatives of the Australian union movement are fighting to improve the rights for woman and men, to be free from gendered violence at work not just in Australia, but across the world. We are in Geneva at the International Labour Organisation which brings together representatives from governments, employers and unions from every country. Australian union movement representatives are there arguing for a new global convention on violence and harassment at work, and fighting for better rights for all workers. This is also putting our values into practice.

“Working people expect their leaders to uphold union values and to be focused on advancing their interests. Our role is to do everything we can to improve the working lives of our members and aim to hand on better conditions to the next generation.

“Unions are democratic, member-run organisations and while John is elected by his members, he also needs to consider the interests of working people and the wider union movement.

“Where an individual’s actions cause damage to the whole movement, the interest of union members and the whole movement needs to be put first.

“The current Federal Government will use any opportunity to impose further, anti-democratic, anti-worker laws on all union officials and all unions, it is clear they will try and exploit this situation for their own ends. These laws will make it harder for ordinary working people to receive fair wages and conditions. We must oppose these laws.

“Now, in the interests of our movement, in the interests of working people, and in the interests of the values we share, I have asked John to do what is best for everyone and stand down.”

IEUA MEMBERS Workers Compensation Representation

The IEUA have partnered with Union owned Law firm United Voice Legal (UVL) to provide expert legal advice and representation for our members who have been injured at work.

UVL are owned and operated by United Voice WA, one of the largest unions in Western Australia, they provide legal services consistent with union values of fairness and equity ensuring IEUA members will get the best outcomes available. 

The union difference

UVL pride themselves on providing the “union difference”, UVL will fight for IEUA members to achieve the best possible outcome.

UVL operates on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis in most circumstances (conditions apply). UVL lawyers provide Workers Compensation legal advice to ensure members fully understand the legal ramifications surrounding your claim and your entitlements.

Remember

If you are injured at work:

  1. Report it;
  2. Complete an incident form;
  3. See your Doctor and obtain a first medical certificate;
  4. Complete a Workers Compensation claim form and forward the form with your Dr’s certificate to the Principal/HR Manager etc;
  5. Keep copies of ALL documentation you provide to your employer;
  6. If any IEUA member has concerns or questions about Workers Compensation call YOUR Union office.

The IEUA Office will refer members to UVL if the Workers Compensation claim is disputed or the insurers denies liability.

Injured at work and unsure of what to do call your union
PH: 9373 1000

IEU members respond to the National Assessment Program (NAP) – NAPLAN reporting review 2019

IEU members respond to the National Assessment Program (NAP) – NAPLAN reporting review 2019

On the 14th of March 2019, IEU members nationally responded to the Council of Australian Governments inquiry into NAPLAN (you can find the complete submission here). More than 2800 union members working across Catholic and Independent schools, Australia-wide were surveyed. IEU WA branch union members will have the opportunity to have their say in our Branch survey early Term 2.

What did members have to say?

Whilst a number of IEU members who completed the survey see value and utility in the current NAP arrangements, it is evident that an overwhelming number have major concerns about the value and accuracy (in describing their individual students’ abilities) of the test and have little support for the utility in presentation on the MySchool website. Overwhelmingly (88% of respondents), IEU members support a formative assessment program that is created by and for teachers, that could be utilised when and where needed (as determined by the classroom teacher).

When asked, “do you believe the results of NAPLAN tests provide an accurate evaluation of your individual students’ abilities in numeracy and literacy” IEU members generally disagreed with the statement.

When asked “are the NAPLAN results useful for your planning for student learning” members indicated that overall they disagreed.

IEU members believe strongly that the NAPLAN data and results currently arrive too late in the year to be of high value and that a “national assessment tool, either in its current form or continuously available, should be available from early in the year for teachers to use according to their professional judgement.”

Improvements to NAPLAN

Members provided a wide range of reactions to the NAPLAN program. A number of common themes can be found among the members’ comments. There remains a large number of teachers who believe that the NAPLAN regime should simply be abolished. In their view, it serves no educational purpose and worse than that causes difficulties for some learners and/or the classroom.

A large number of members commented on the delay between the taking of the test (in May) and the delivery of student results much later in the year, providing very little time or capacity for that classroom teacher to work on areas of learning requiring attention.

IEU Members also reflected, in significant numbers, on the lack of linkage often between the tests and what is happening in the classroom; that the tests were inappropriate for Year 3 students given their level of maturation; insufficient time allocation in some tests/test items for students to be able to adequately respond; ongoing concerns about publication of the results on the MySchool website and the media’s preparation of ‘league tables’. There are concerns that the tests do not validly measure the intended benchmarks and that other classroom assessments provide a different and more accurate measure the student’s actual literacy and numeracy level.

The overwhelming conclusion remains that every aspect of teaching and learning has felt the negative impact of the publication of the NAPLAN data. IEU members commented on both what they saw as elements causing the pressure felt in schools as well as commenting on the consequences of that pressure.

Agreement that there has been additional pressure from the publication of NAPLAN data

Impact

Percentage

Pressure on teachers

89%

Pressure on students

75%

Pressure on the school

92%

Note: Percentages rounded

One of the predominant themes expressed by members about a source of unnecessary pressure was the lack of community understanding about the purpose (and limitations) of the NAPLAN data.  This included unrealistic expectations from parents about the purpose and their own expectations for their child’s performance.

IEU Members’ recommendations

  1. Clarification of purpose

The NAPLAN tests were originally promoted as ‘diagnostic tools’ however commentary by ACARA senior personnel, including statements before a Senate inquiry, suggest that the tests are a summative assessment of the learning for the year level cohort. After consultation with the education community in relation to needs with respect to the tests, the explicit purpose of the tests must be made clear and the tests constructed accordingly.

  1. Timing

If the NAPLAN tests are intended to be used by teacher to “help them better identify students who require greater challenges or additional support” it is clear that the current timing of both ‘taking’ the tests in May of the school year and then receipt of results quite late in the school year means that too little time is available for that classroom teacher to respond to the diagnostic results. Consequently it would seem sensible to conduct a ‘diagnostic test’ as early as possible in the school year and improve the turn-around of results so that more time is available to respond in the classroom. If it is determined that the tests are diagnostic tools these tools should be available for teachers to utilise at the appropriate time to suit the needs of their students as determined by the teacher’s professional judgement.

  1. Provision for special needs students

Principals and teachers generally agreed that the current tests do not provide for students with special needs and the ad hoc approach in some schools to encourage some students to ‘not attend’ on the test days is not an appropriate response. The establishment of a working party with classroom teacher, with expertise in supporting students with special needs, be established to provide advice in relation to the current and future NAPLAN test items. In particular, the expertise of classroom teachers needs to be accessed to establish the evidence and benchmarks for measures of ‘one year’s growth, for one year’s schooling’ for students across the entire cohort.

Teachers Registration Board –Representation of IEU Teacher Members

One of the functions of the Teacher Registration Board of Western Australia (TRBWA) is to regulate the professional conduct of teachers. Some of the ways the TRB manage this are:

  • receiving and assessing notices and complaints about teachers
  • deciding whether disciplinary proceedings should be initiated on receipt of notices or complaints, a change in criminal history or changes to teaching status in another State
  • conducting investigations in relation to disciplinary or impairment matters
  • managing disciplinary proceedings and implement disciplinary action against teachers as required.

ACTION Members should take if you receive a letter from the TRB advising they have received a complaint and are investigating the matter:

  1. CALL YOUR UNION immediately to receive sound and accurate advice
  2. Do not respond to the TRB
  3. Do NOT discuss the letter with your colleagues (as it may be confidential)

The IEU represents all teacher Union members before the TRB. Union members do not need to engage a lawyer, the IEU Industrial Officers are experienced in representing Teacher members with TRB matters.

ELICOS and Registered Trade Organisation Employment Standards – Breaks

ELICOS and RTO Members

The Educational Services (Post-Secondary Education) Award 2010 provides for the minimum employment conditions for members employed in RTO’s and ELICOS areas

Members have recently contacted the IEU office to clarify their entitlements regarding Breaks. It appears that many staff members are not getting breaks during the day.

The award prescribes for all employees to have paid rest breaks.

22. Breaks
22.3 All employees

  • An employee must be allowed two 10 minute rest breaks on each day as follows:
    • one 10 minute break between the time of commencing work and the usual meal break; and
    • a second 10 minute break between the usual meal break and the time of ceasing work.
  • An employee who works more than four hours overtime on a Saturday morning must be allowed a rest break of 10 minutes between commencing and finishing work.
  • If an employee is required to work through their normal meal break the employee will be paid double time for all time so worked until such time as the meal break is given.
  • An employee working overtime will be allowed a meal break of 20 minutes without deduction of pay after each four hours of overtime worked.

ACTION to take if you are not receiving your breaks:

  1. Contact your IEU organiser
  2. Draft an email to send to management
    • pointing out that you have the right to breaks
    • management are legally obliged to provide breaks
    • you would like to meet and discuss how breaks can be organised for you and your colleagues

  3. Discuss this with your IEU organiser
  1. Progress!

Please visit your school page on the web site to read a copy of your award and Enterprise Bargaining Agreement, if your organisation has an EBA.