Time to recognise vital work of support staff
10 August 2016
Our schools couldn’t function without support staff, but they often don’t get the professional recognition they deserve.
Next week (August 15-19th) is national Support Staff Week - when the AEU acknowledges the work our support staff do, and continues to fight for their rights.
AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said that Support Staff Week was a chance to recognise the contribution to schools made by thousands of staff, from librarians and teacher’s assistants to laboratory technicians.
“As a teacher, I know that without their work behind the scenes and in the classroom, students would not have the foundation they need to be able to achieve their best,” Ms Haythorpe said.
“Good schools work as a team, and good support staff are a crucial part of that.
Ms Haythorpe said the AEU would continue to push for better treatment of support staff, to ensure that their contribution to schools is recognised through decent pay and conditions and job security.
The union is also campaigning for fairer workloads for support staff, and to improve opportunities for reclassification, ensuring they have the chance to progress through pay scales as their responsibilities change.
Support staff are still less likely to be on full-time contracts than other staff and suffer from the insecurity that comes from this treatment.
Despite some wins by AEU branches in recent years, they are more likely to be employed on February-to-December contracts and have to reapply for their positions the following year.
This makes it hard for support staff to plan for the future and difficult to pay mortgage or rent when they are out of work. It means that many may miss out on parental leave.
Ensuring that support staff have more opportunities for permanent employment will benefit them and make it easier for our school system to retain staff in the long-term.
Support staff are a fast-growing part of the AEU and the union recognises their importance for the long-term health of our school system.
Branches are holding a range of local events including morning teas and information meetings for support.
For more information on what your State or Territory branch of the AEU is doing to celebrate Support Staff Week, and to find out more about how the union represents support staff click on the links below (Support staff are not covered by the AEU in all States)