The Department stepped over the line yesterday, writing to all schools and EFAs.
The Department of Education's communications single out EFAs (Educational Facility Attendants) for taking action on wages and job security – the letter unlawfully discriminates against United Voice EFA members, and threatens to bring in relief workers to cover the work bans.
The EFA workforce is fighting for a fair pay rise. They have not had a pay increase since December 2017, and recently resolved to take industrial action in the form of work bans 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.
The letters completely go against the rights that all workers have. EFAs have a right to take industrial action, and the work bans were put in place following a resolution of the union’s Branch Executive.
Jannette Armstrong, Tasmanian Branch Secretary of United Voice says, “We are appalled at the intimidation tactics from the government. We are appalled that they have instructed Principals and School Business Managers to potentially engage in potentially coercive and discriminatory behaviour against hard-working EFA members. It is disgraceful that they have written to all schools about lawful work bans, and threatened to bring in relief workers. It is discriminatory that EFAs are being singled out like this in the fight for better wages across the public sector.
“Furthermore, the Department Secretary is spreading misinformation to schools. We are asking Mr Bullard the Minister administering the State Service Act, Premier Hodgman, to correct their advice to schools. EFAs have a right to industrial action, they have a right to fight for a fair wage.
“The union will lodge a discrimination complaint if the government does not apologise and fix their advice.
“All Tasmanians need to know just how disrespectfully the Hodgman Liberal government is treating their dedicated EFA workforce.
“EFAs deserve respect, job security, and a decent pay rise – not a heavy-handed attack by the Minister that relies on their hard work for our schools to function.”