Members turn up the heat on climate control
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 123 No 3, 13 April 2018, p14
Following the first Workload and Wellbeing Awareness Month (WWAM) in 2017, a number of key strategies to address workload and wellbeing continue to progress.
Of key importance is the recognition of the member-led strategy regarding climate control. The first two census points for the survey occurred at the end of 2017, with the third census collection point occurring in week four, 2018. This happened to be during the middle of a heatwave, and while statistically some of the data may be questioned (due to differing thermometers used for collection, the impact of humidity etc), the data collected provided examples which have been used extensively in media articles around the state.
While we need to continue to collect the data, members now need to turn from data collection to further local level action.
In coming weeks, the QTU will develop resources to assist Union Representatives in holding workplace meetings in term two to develop local plans on what actions will be taken when it is hot, including when no further new learning will occur, timing of exams, rotation through air-conditioned classrooms etc. The plan may also consider a trigger for a workplace health and safety directive.
Area Councils will be asked to list the matter on their agenda during term two, and branch representatives to Area Councils will be encouraged to lead the process at their branch meetings. A report back on progress will occur at Area Councils in term three.
While the temperatures during terms two and three are generally not as high as those in terms one and four, it is important that the plan is ready for when it does become hot (much like schools having an alternative duty roster for wet weather).
In order to continue the momentum created by WWAM, the QTU is looking to launch Workload and Wellbeing Mondays, to provide some suggestions and updates on issues being addressed across the state. These won’t occur every Monday but will provide an opportunity to showcase strategies to address workload and also celebrate any successes that are achieved by members.
Wellbeing continues to remain a focus in 2018. The QTU, working with other unions and the DoE, has made some advancement toward an occupational violence guide and strategy for Queensland schools. As a consequence of events during the 2018 school holidays, the Premier has also taken steps to lead reform to address cyber bullying. The QTU President sits on this task force.
The QTU continues to meet with the department to progress the development of an occupational violence process that will also act to mitigate the instances of occupational violence and support member wellbeing.
Deputy General Secretary