Tuesday, October 1, 2013

What will I do if elected again?

There are new national rules coming into effect next year about Union governance through the Fair Work Commission.

I will ensure that the AEU NT is compliant and that all Officers are appropriately trained as required.

Changes that have already been made mean that the new requirements should have minimal effect on what we do, they will require us to have written procedures and this is already under-way.

Our Sub branch structure is the strength of the AEU NT. However, there has been insufficient attention given to sub branches for a long time. In 2011 I immediately began some Union training on being a sub branch representative and selection panel training. In 2012 I provided the opportunity for advanced Union training in a joint exercise with the Australian Nurses Federation (NT). In 2013 our Top End Organiser, Briseis More with assistance from our President, Matthew Cranitch and myself provided further training. Many of our sub branches need assistance to engage new teachers and other educators at their school. I will ensure that this need is met and our membership will increase because of it. Many of our Sub branches operate with regular meetings and are very effective. It is disturbing that an increasing number of them are not able to hold quorate meetings regularly. I will work to reverse this situation.

Many members and non-members have been employed directly by school councils for years on a casual basis. They are now covered by a Modern Award which has seen their very poor employment conditions get even worse. I have been told of people who have worked this way in remote communities for up to 26 years. The AEU NT has always spoken strongly against this practice and worked to improve conditions. I had this matter included in our current Log of Claims. I knew that the Commissioner for Public Employment would reject this out of hand stating as he did that these were not public sector employees and so not covered by the Teacher and Educator Enterprise Agreement. I told the Commissioner and I promise you that if I am re-elected I will pursue this matter with each individual school council seeking a new Enterprise Agreement covering their employees. In my first months as Secretary I was involved in a case of grossly unfair dismissal of a school council employee about which we were powerless because the modern award allows dismissal without cause in the first 6 months of employment. This must change!

The AEU NT Executive is the decision making body of our Union between Annual Conferences. The members who stand for Executive Councillor positions in each region give up many hours of their time to ensure our Union runs well. With the new rules covering Unions our Executive will undertake some training on proper governance of Union affairs. I see this as an opportunity to provide further training which will build upon the skills that members bring to this role. Training that will assist in better decision making and build confidence and skills allowing further opportunities for Executive Councillors to manage special programs and initiatives supporting members and sub branches.

I will ensure that the benefits from our new computing system and new membership system are fully realised. Increased involvement of all members, improved communication with members will occur as we also steadily improve our member records.

The new office structure has provided members with a greater level of assistance and service during 2012. I will work to keep this structure and build our officers skills to provide you with the best service possible.

What will my highest priority be?

It has been and will remain responding to individual member needs as promptly and effectively as possible. This comes first in a small organisation like ours as far as I am concerned.