Member Story: Eva, ACT Education Directorate

Eva won job security in a job she loves.
Eva
ACT Education Directorate

CPSU member, Eva, has successfully secured a permanent job after three years of non-ongoing contracts, thanks to representation from the CPSU Member Service Centre. 

Eva, a school assistant, had signed at least eight separate contracts while being continuously employed by the ACT Education Directorate over three years in various roles. She joined the union when she started because she believed strongly in the importance of union membership to contribute to the collective strength of ACT public servants.

Eva’s most recent role was supporting vision-impaired students by providing ongoing support, and preparing and transcribing Braille resources. While she found the work incredibly rewarding and enjoyable, Eva found the insecure nature of her employment caused a high level of uncertainty and stress.

“To be in continuous short-term contracts over an extended period of time was very stressful for myself and my family. I really enjoyed my job as a braille transcriber, which takes at least two years to become proficient in. And yet, over a period of time I was forced to apply for other jobs as I really had no certainty whether my contract would be renewed or not.”

When Eva got in touch with her CPSU representatives in the Member Service Centre, they helped her to outline her experience to make the case for permanency.

CPSU industrial organiser, Cameron, worked with Eva to write to Directorate management to request a review of her employment status. They detailed Eva’s work experience and highlighted a commitment made in the ACT Public Sector Agreement to establish a joint union and Government taskforce into insecure work.

Cameron said, “When Eva told me that she had been employed on so many non-ongoing contracts in such an important role, I couldn’t see any sense in her having to be employed in such a precarious manner when there was a clear ongoing need for her skills.”

“I wrote to the Directorate and requested that they live up to the ACTPS’ commitment to the CPSU and its members to promote permanent employment and job security and employ Eva permanently. The Directorate agreed to do just that – a victory not only for Eva but also for CPSU members who fought hard for this commitment in the last round of bargaining,” said Cameron.

The employer met with Eva and Cameron and agreed to offer Eva a permanent contract.

Eva said, “Having a permanent contract feels fantastic!  I can plan ahead. I can focus on my work. I can now spend money more freely on things that my family need.”

“I think that if everyone had secure work agreements then there would be more spending which is better for the economy. Certainly, I would wish that anyone who wants it has an opportunity to experience secure work agreements.”

Cameron added, ‘The best way to fight against insecure and precarious work is to join your union, as Eva did on the day she commenced her employment with the Directorate.’