What started with a small group of co-workers getting together to blow the whistle on unfair practices, is today being celebrated as a major win for all Band 1s at Libraries Tasmania.
Thanks to the action of CPSU members and Delegates, Libraries Tasmania have implemented a new structure for Band 1s to move up the ladder into better paying work that recognises their skills and experience.
For years, Libraries Tasmania staff in Band 1 roles have been relegated to the lowest classification, despite clocking up years of experience and professional qualifications in their role. When pushed, they were told that because Libraries Tasmania didn’t have any Band 2 positions, there was nowhere for them to go.
It regularly resulted in what could be a scene from Utopia – where workers who had worked for a decade or longer found themselves supervising new colleagues in Band 3 positions. Something had to change.
Historically, positions classified at Band 1 under the Tasmanian State Service Award were intended to be for starting or trainee positions only. Workers in Band 1 roles aren’t supposed to work without supervision. However years of dodgy practices in multiple agencies has seen Band 1 go from being the first step on the ladder – to becoming a glass ceiling for countless workers.
With Libraries Tasmania refusing to budge, workers decided to take action. Members got union and got active – writing a petition and speaking to their colleagues right across the state. More than a hundred Libraries Tasmania employees signed on, and more Band 1s who realised they were being under classified took the next step and became union members for the first time.
Thanks to this momentum, we were able to secure a commitment from the Department for Children & Young People to review all Band 1 employees – and reclassify them at Band 2 where it could be demonstrated their skills and experience merited promotion.
Recognising workers’ skills and expertise is not just about putting more in your hip pocket – it’s about creating genuine opportunities for quality careers in our public sector. By formally recognising their skills and experience, members now have better opportunities to progress further in libraries, or elsewhere in our public sector.
This victory by members in Libraries sees the salary horizon increase for these workers to between $62,933 and $66,790. For some this will mean a wage increase of over six thousand dollars a year, in addition to your annual increases secured under your Public Sector Unions Wages Agreement.
It’s a story members should be very proud of. By taking action, a small group of members set off a snowball that became an avalanche – securing changes that will safeguard better pay and conditions, as well as genuine career pathways, for future generations of workers in our libraries.
It’s also a template members can (and should!) be looking to follow in their own workplaces. Last year we spoke to a Band 1 at Port Arthur Historic Site who has been denied pay and progression for 22 years.
If you want to be involved in a campaign to recognise Band 1s in your workplace, contact email@example.com.