Michelle AEU

Australian Education Union Northern Organiser, Michelle Rippon, speaks of the energy of coming together with other unions to improve jobs for Tasmanian communities. 

Insecure jobs have become part of the landscape in Braddon. Workers often don’t have secure, regular work. Many workers can’t plan their lives and struggle to pay their bills. It prevents access to the necessities of life, food, shelter and a sense of belonging. People in our community have been encouraged to think of this as a “trend” in the working lives of Tasmanians. This should not be the case and unions are calling it out and taking it on. 

The announcement of an ACTU secure jobs blitz in Braddon presented a great opportunity to fill Union House (AEU Devonport office) with union organisers and delegates and work together to share our message in the community. We cover different workplaces, but all organisers agree that job security is the central issue for workers and unions. I was proud to work alongside HACSU and CPSU organisers to visit workplaces. We shared our stories and our successes on the leader board.  There may have been some friendly competitiveness! 

Our current AEU campaign is ‘Lifting Learning for Every Child’. This means consistent support staff and teachers who are focused on learning, not whether they have a job next term or next year. Education support personnel are often employed contract to contract which provide as little as 40 paid weeks per year and no certainty for the future. The looming threat of the privatisation of TasTAFE is another example of the erosion of secure jobs in our community. 

As part of the blitz, AEU organised a barbecue at the Devonport campus of TasTAFE. AEU and CPSU talked with teachers, support personnel and students, who face the uncertainty of a privatised system. 

Working together to protect workers’ rights is what unions do. The blitz was a perfect example of what we can achieve when we unite and work together. It is always energising to work with other union organisers and delegates and share our common experiences. I gained knowledge about the issues around insecure work in health and the public sector and could share my experiences in education. 

This is just the beginning of our fight to ensure our workers, once again, have the most stable and reliable jobs in the world. Secure jobs in Braddon – Worth fighting for. 

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