Education Facility Attendants across Tasmania have voted to start industrial action that will include work bans to protest the state government’s failure to commit to secure jobs and fair pay increases.
Work bans will start from Monday and will continue to escalate for the rest of the school year and into Term 1, 2019 if the government doesn’t take action. The rolling work bans will include refusing to accept extra duties, and as long as the government continues to refuse to commit to job security and fair pay rises will escalate to stopping cleaning toilets and sinks, and other crucial tasks.
Education Facility Attendants (EFAs) play an important role in state schools, colleges and TAFEs. The workforce is fighting two battles – for wages and job security. They have voted to take this action because they are some of the state’s lowest paid public sector employees and can’t keep up with the rising cost of living under the current 2% wages cap (that has been in place since 2011). The Job Security Agreement for the workforce ran out in September 2018 and the government has not committed to signing it again, leaving workers and schools fearful that jobs could be contracted out.
Jannette Armstrong, Tasmanian Branch Secretary of United Voice, says “Education Facility Attendants play a crucial role in quality education by ensuring safe, healthy, clean and inviting learning environments for students, teachers, and support staff. They deserve respect, job security, and a decent pay rise. Schools won’t be able to function and stay open without the EFAs on board – because the buildings risk being unhygienic and unsafe.
“EFAs have the support of their school colleagues – principals, teachers and administration staff, who all understand how important this workforce is and that they deserve to win job security and win jobs they can count on.
“Parents and school communities need to be aware that the EFAs in their schools have lost their job security. Many have provided decades of service and should not be in this untenable position. The government must sign up to protecting these jobs that keep our schools running.”
Ken Martindale, an Education Facility Attendant from Hobart says, “We condemn this government for the lack of respect shown to our workforce. Leaving EFAs with no job security agreement whatsoever is deplorable. It’s the first time I’ve seen anything like this in my 20 years on the job.
“I love my job and I love being part of my school community. We are respected in our school community, so why are we not respected by our employer, the Hodgman Government?
“As well as losing our job security, condemning people to constant wage capping where we cannot keep up with the cost of living has just put EFAs behind the eight ball yet again.”