Win for Saturday School executives

Amber Flohm
Multicultural Officer/Organiser

Saturday School of Community Languages executives have finally been paid correctly for work between August 2012 and May 2013, when thanks to Federation’s intervention, underpayment stopped.

While this is a significant win for these executives (including supervisors, assistant supervisors and curriculum coordinators) and Federation, the second stage of the process covering the full six years of underpayment of salary and entitlements will be rigorously pursued by Federation.

The union initially raised the matter with the Department in March, when it became apparent that there had been a long term breach of the award, in regard to the remuneration of Saturday School executive members. The affected executives had been underpaid by two hours each Saturday for a significant period of time.

The Department of Education and Communities’ initial response was inadequate and saw Federation lodge a dispute in the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC). The first appearance was in May and there have been seven appearances to date.

The Department was quick to accept its responsibility before the IRC, but has taken many months since then to actually award them their remuneration and entitlements.

During the proceedings Federation requested audits of Saturdays worked and long service leave and superannuation entitlements. Matters of what constituted ‘a normal working day’ were argued by Federation in relation to long service leave entitlements and that already taken during the disputed period.

Travel time from individual centres to a central meeting location was also argued by the union, as well as payment for staff development workshops, archive and planning days. Mechanisms for appeals, the nature of executive meetings and workshops and the casual and precarious nature of the employment of these executives were also matters raised by Federation during the proceedings.

The union would like to thank the members of the Saturday School executive involved for their considerable communication with their union and their commitment to the provision of quality language instructions for their students and community in this special public education setting.