General Assistants: What does the union do for you? - Public Service Association

General Assistants: What does the union do for you?

What Does the Union Do For You - Sept 2019 (PDF version)

General Assistants will have heard of the excellent win the PSA secured for school administrative and support staff covered by the SAS Staff Award.

This is a great win for those workers which unfortunately does not flow on to General Assistants working in schools.

The NSW Government removed the options for better pay and conditions

When the O’Farrell Government was elected in 2011 it went about changing the laws to reduce the ability of unions to take cases to the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) to improve the pay and conditions of their members outside of the wages cap set by the Government.

One of the only ways conditions could be improved was under the Equity Principals. This is why the PSA could take a case for staff working under the SAS Staff Award – because they are approximately 94 per cent women.

The ability to run a ‘work value’ case for any government workers has been removed. This means we are prevented by the NSW Government from taking a case to seek increases for the new technology GAs are using and other changes to your work.

The PSA has still raised both the increased expectations on GAs and technological change that has impacted the role of GAs.  Both have been completely rejected by the Department of Education.

The PSA continues to work with and for GAs to improve your rights at work

As you would know, we are presently working on:

  • Increasing the GA clothing entitlement
  • Ensuring all advertised positions use the agreed Role Description, not ones made up at the school
  • Working to prevent increased workloads by stopping the responsibility for cleaning air conditioner filters and emptying/cleaning dust extractors in woodwork rooms being placed on GAs
  • Ensuring all GAs have First Aid kits in their rooms/workspaces.

The PSA advises all GAs to work to your DoE Role Description and not to take on work that you are not employed, or paid, to do.

You can find more information on your role description HERE.

School holidays are just around the corner

The school holidays are approaching and the PSA reminds all GAs to ensure that a Working Alone Risk Assessment is undertaken over the next few weeks. All staff who are going to be on the school site during the holidays must have keys and the codes for the alarm systems. You are not responsible for them once they are on the school site.

GAs are also not responsible for the supervision of contractors. Principals should make arrangements for how contractors will be managed during school holidays prior to the end of term.

Know someone who hasn’t joined yet? Be part of a strong union

The win secured for SAS Staff demonstrates the PSA is a strong union committed to the improved conditions for all our members. Over the last few years our GA membership has grown, leading to better outcomes for you. We value our GA members and urge you to encourage others to be part of our union.

Forward this email to your colleagues and encourage them to JOIN today so they can be part of the next big win.


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