Tasmanian Times


Teacher aides deserve a better deal

The Tasmanian Greens today called on the Education Minister Lin Thorp to honour a verbal agreement between Labor and the Australian Education Union (AEU) to provide less stand-down time for Teacher Aides.

Greens Education spokesperson Paul O’Halloran said that in the current climate of spiralling electricity prices and other living costs, it is completely unreasonable to expect permanent employees to be stood-down and accept non-payment for eight weeks every year.

“I don’t know of any other permanent employee who is just not paid for eight weeks out of the year,” said Mr O’Halloran.

“The last Teacher Aide agreement was negotiated in 2008 by the then Minister David Bartlett, and promised relief from stand down. With the next negotiation looming fast, I am calling on Minister Thorp to commit to honouring this in the next round of negotiations, given that little has changed since this 2008 negotiation.”

“The Greens are calling for a commitment from Labor to increase the current employment of Teacher Aides from 42 to 48 weeks out of the year, with annualisation, and for this commitment to be implemented in a timely manner,” said Mr O’Halloran.

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  1. Leonard Colquhoun

    October 27, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    Comment 8 – must remember that one: there’s a lot of them around.

  2. hugoagogo

    October 27, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    Prof Calhoon @ 6.

    I once head FUBAR appended (by a member of the health services) with BUNDY; which reads ‘…But Unfortunately Not Dead Yet…”

  3. Kristal

    October 27, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    As in any workforce, not all TAs are permanent but many are. All TAs are employed for 40 weeks but can apply to work and be paid for 2 extra weeks, bringing them up to 42 weeks a year. Annualisation is not automatic. They CAN individually apply (they have to do it each year) to have their salary annualised but only if they can guarantee that their hours of work won’t change during the 52 weeks, which is difficult as schools can chop and change their hours. Their rate of pay is $20.49 with some TAs with special duties earning $22.10 an hour. Casual cleaners earn $19.45 an hour. A teenage kitchen hand can earn $19 an hour. Considering what is demanded of them (the care of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged children) and the conditions they work under, their rate of pay is a disgrace and the least the govt could do is offer them 46 weeks like admin staff and provide them with work to do during that time.

  4. Leonard Colquhoun

    October 27, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Hugoagogo, Comment 5, depending on people’s sensitivities, the “F” is either a lower case ‘f’ part of the ‘of’, or an upper case ‘F’ for a well-known but impolite yet forceful adjective.

    Whereas, in ‘snafu’ and ‘fubar’ the ‘f’ is totally unambiguous.

    Many in the ‘education industry’ were, and still are, adept at little but snafuing and fubaring, as seen locally in ‘Essential Learnings’ & ‘Tasmania Tomorrow’. Occurs in every State, but much less so in NSW.

    I ask myself whether there is any other profession (in Australia*) which has handed such total control over itself to bludgers, freeloaders, frauds, outsiders, pseuds, parasites, schmucks^, schlemiels^ & schlocks^.

    * some would write ‘in this country’ in the ()s, but to me it seems such a bloodlessly prissy sort of expression, with tinges of distaste about one’s own country, but without the cojones to say so.

    ^courtesy of one of my favourite books, “The Joys of Yiddish”; in 1998, we were able to replace my battered copy with one bought in NY’s Lower East Side.

  5. hugoagogo

    October 27, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    #4, Leonard,

    What a great acronym, I’ve got most of it out but can’t figure out the ‘F’.

  6. Leonard Colquhoun

    October 26, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    If, as claimed in Comment 3, point 1, teacher aides “are PERMANENT employees, not casuals or temporaries”, then why isn’t their yearly salary annualised over the 26.09 fortnights as are many / most yearly salaries?

    Shouldn’t this happen, regardless of the fairness or otherwise of the rate of pay?

    As for this bit of scuzz in Comment 1 – “Teachers, on the other hand, are overpaid and over-compensated with holidays” – two responses:

    (i) if is meant those in paid employment as teachers who don’t know enough about their teaching subjects and / or haven’t the classroom skills needed for carrying out their professional duties, then the point has some merit; there is also some validity that many of the in-services which teachers are obliged to attend (many of which are a total PC WOFTAM) ought to be in the so-called holidays, particularly those in between terms;

    (ii) but if not, moronic.

  7. Kristal

    October 25, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    Peter – 1. please note they are PERMANENT employees, not casuals or temporaries. Permanent employees are employed for a full year and expected to report for duty exactly when they are required, and their salary should reflect that and not force them to go on centrelink benefits or every year find other temporary jobs while waiting for work to resume.
    2. Nowadays they are often sole breadwinners and not merely earning a bit extra to a husband’s salary and should have equal conditions as any permanent employee does.
    3. Robin is absolutely right – TAs are often expected to care for the most difficult, most vulnerable and most challenging of our students yet they are paid a pittance and stood down at Christmas. They should receive medals for what they do as well as good pay and conditions.
    3. You obviously have not the slightest understanding of what TAs do – would you care to catheterise a six year old, change the soiled nappies of a fifteen year old boy, medicate ADD students, tube feed a ten year old girl or clean up vomit and faeces on a daily basis and at the same time be expected to be knowledgeable about intellectual disabilities and learning difficulties and being partially responsible for their basic education, and then get paid little more than a teenage kitchen hand?

    Compassion? I don’t think so!

  8. Robin Halton

    October 25, 2010 at 1:19 am

    Re 1 Peter: Teacher Aides in the past have put up with hell, my wife trained as a TA with TAFE and soon realised what a marginalised waste of time it was for a few hours here and there, put in charge of students who were generally unsuitable for mainstream education. Not all were little monsters but the TA’s generally who had to look after them were treated like the under dogs of the system. My wife who could see no future as the income was pitiful, the job was stressful and without any career path. A single person dependant on a one wage and would have sought other employment during stand down to survive when they should have been recuperating.
    If Education Minister Lin Thorp wants the best out of TA’s as their main role is dealing with the difficult and disruptive children then pay the TA’s a full time wage then the Inclusiveness Policy in schools today could work better for the Dept., school staff, the concerned parent and for the student within reason.

  9. Peter

    October 24, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Why should aides be paid, if they’re not doing any work?

    Teachers, on the other hand, are overpaid and over-compensated with holidays. Yet that’s not enough, they’ve cribbed another week of leave, calling it ‘pupil-free days’.

    I’d like to see teachers rostered for duty at summer schools instead, leaving them 5-6 weeks of annual leave. (I’m not without compassion)

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