Bulletin 15 - second notice of protected industrial action - pay deductions - issued 31 August 2022

On 23 August 2022, the Australian Education Union (AEU-NT) gave notice of a full day stoppage on Thursday 1 September 2022 across the Territory.

Employees who participate in the stoppage of work will be deducted pay for the period of the stoppage.

This is a mandatory requirement of the Fair Work Act 2009, which prohibits an employer from making payment to an employee for the total duration that the employee engages in the industrial action.

Unprotected industrial action

As previously reported, non-members who participate in the AEU-NT industrial action will be taking unprotected industrial action. In accordance with the Act, I am required to deduct salary for unprotected industrial action as follows:

  • Where the period of the industrial action is less than 4 hours on that day, the employer must withhold 4 hours payment from the employee.
  • If the period of the industrial action is 4 or more hours on that day, the employer must withhold payment for the total duration of the industrial action.

Employees not participating in the protected industrial action

Employees are required to notify of non participation so the Department of Education can plan for alternate arrangements necessary during this period. This will be done by advising the relevant school principal or manager for office-based employees.

Employees not participating in the protected industrial action may be required to perform duties in areas being impacted by the action.

Members of the union have a right to take protected industrial action, they also have a right to not participate. No adverse action must be taken against an employee exercising their right. If you have concerns, you should contact the relevant principal or manager.

Important information for employees and AEU-NT members considering taking protected industrial action

I remind employees who are considering taking protected industrial action to be aware of the following:

  • Partaking in protected industrial action is voluntary - members eligible to take action are not required to participate.
  • Only employees who are members of the AEU-NT are eligible to participate in protected industrial action.
  • Only actions that AEU-NT have notified may be taken as protected industrial action - taking other action that is not notified will be unprotected.
  • Deductions from salary will be required from union members who engage in work stoppages, for the total duration of the stoppage.
  • Non-members who participate in any industrial action will be considered to be taking unprotected industrial action and, in accordance with the Act, I am required to deduct a minimum of 4 hours salary for any unprotected industrial action.

During a period of industrial action, employees remain subject to the code of conduct with regard to appropriate workplace behaviour. This means no bullying, no harassing, no aggressive behaviours by any employees.

More information about the bargaining process

I am extremely disappointed that the AEU-NT have chosen not to put my improved offer to its membership, especially given my agreement for the union to hold paid stop work meetings with its membership to discuss the offer.

In other words, these meetings would have been held during working hours, so that members would not have to lose pay in considering the improved offer, which would result in competitive salaries and conditions for NT teachers.

Regular updates in relation to the bargaining process are posted to this page. Further information on bargaining and the Act can be obtained on the Fair Work Commission website or you can contact them on their information line via 1300 799 675.

Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
31 August 2022

Last updated: 16 September 2022

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