The Union of Professional Educators – Voice Of The Workers has been actively working towards establishing a Collective Agreement with the management of Newark Kindergarten. The implementation of such an agreement would see the introduction of better work conditions and a salary increase for both KGEs and LSEs.
The Union has been compelled to intervene because of the discrepancies that exist at Newark Kindergarten when compared with other employment conditions of other educators in the private sector. Currently, educators at Newark are disadvantaged in two ways:
- they work more hours per week than other private sector educators.
- they are offered unsustainable and discriminatory short-term contracts of work.
Unlike the normative practice in other institutes, these contracts are designed to restrict the educator to receive a salary for only the period of the scholastic year, thus excluding a steady income for the summer months. It is no surprise, then, that Newark educators cannot make ends meet and are obliged to seek alternative employment during the summer period to maintain their livelihoods. The negative results of such terms of employment are stress and uncertainty among the educators.
The Newark management together with MEA appear to be intent on prolonging discussions with the sole purpose of avoiding an agreement before the end of June. No new agreement would see Union members lose their jobs at Newark.
UPE cannot and will not tolerate such disingenuous behaviour. It has called upon the Department of Industrial & Employment Relations (DIER) to intervene at its earliest in order to ensure that the workers’ rights are safeguarded. In the meantime, UPE has advised Newark Kindergarten management, MEA and DIER that failure to reach an agreement by 15 May will potentialy lead to Industrial Action.
UPE will keep its members apprised of developments in the coming days.