Stage 2 Arbitration Decision summary for SSOs30-06-2010
Both parts of the Arbitrated Decision have resulted in very significant gains for SSO members.
The first part of the Decision, brought down on 10 February this year, delivered a minimum salary increase of 15.75% for all members (which amounts to 16.7% in real terms over the life of the Award). In addition to the salary gains a new SSO Level 6 classification was secured.
It is important to remember that improved maternity/adoption leave entitlements were implemented administratively from 1 January 2009 where paid leave increased from 12 to 14 weeks. Both permanent and contract employees are eligible for paid maternity or adoption leave provided they have completed 12 months continuous service prior to the birth or adoption of the child. A break of three months of less (excluding school vacations) does not constitute a break in service.
The second part of the Decision of the Full Commission of the SA Industrial Relations Commission, brought down on 25 June, provided some exciting opportunities for SSO members. This was made possible due to the excellent witness statements provided by dedicated AEU members who have our admiration for their courage and commitment to the SSO cause.
Significant improvements for SSOs include a one-off opportunity for many contract SSOs to be converted to permanency.
The criteria for conversions to permanency include SSOs who are employed at the commencement of the Award, remain employed at the commencement of Term 4, 2010 and have more than two years service and at least 15 hours per week across one or more sites.
The conversion process for these SSOs will be completed by the end of Term 4, 2010.
As this is a “one-off” opportunity for eligible SSOs to gain permanency, it is vitally important that SSO members encourage all SSOs to join the AEU now. This represents a brief window of opportunity to ensure maximum numbers of SSOs are converted to permanency. The AEU can and will only support its members through this process.
Other positive developments arising out of the decision included strengthened overtime provisions.
In considering the evidence, the Full Commission stated that "we have concluded that the working of unpaid hours by these employees is endemic. This is an unacceptable situation and we expect that this level of hours worked without compensation will be reduced. In this regards DECS has the responsibility to ensure that industrial instruments are adhered to.”
The new provision includes a revised definition of “appropriate manager” in schools which means the Principal (or delegate). The Principal will have the authority to approve the hours to be worked by the SSO without the requirement to seek approval from DECS.
This process should assist in avoiding situations whereby SSOs feel obliged to take on work without prior approval and as a consequence not being paid for that work.
In relation to TOIL the Full Commission determined that any TOIL not taken within 35 days after it is worked will be paid to the SSO.
In addition the Full Commission determined that a minimum of one SSO must be present while a class in a special school or special unit is being taught. This also applies to special small classes in mainstream schools.
There will also be a review of the allocation of SSO support to those schools with significant levels of Individual Student Plans with a view to providing increased classroom support.
The gains achieved by the AEU were only made possible through the strength of our membership, the ongoing campaign waged by SSOs throughout the enterprise bargaining process and the outstanding witness statements provided by our dedicated SSO members. We thank each and every person who contributed to this process.
Overall the outcomes following Arbitration and determined action by the entire AEU membership give cause for considerable celebration and optimism for the future.
The AEU urges every SSO member to encourage other SSOs to join the AEU. Improvements in wages and working conditions are only achieved through collective action and a strong membership base.