Burch Takes Back-Pay Off The Table

While providing no resourcing to address the burning issue of excessive teacher workload, Joy Burch has attempted to blindside educators by withdrawing back-pay of salary increases.

Read the AEU Analysis of ACT Government's Second EA Offer Here

Today Minister Joy Burch has taken back-pay off the table and, in the process, reduced our pay offer from the one given on October 24 last year.

All members are encouraged to meet in sub-branches to consider our response to the offer; and all Councillors are urged to attend May 9 Council to represent your sub-branch when we vote on it.

  • This second offer means pay increases only begin after an Agreement is signed and approved by Fair Work Australia, instead of being back-dated to October 1 2014.

  • Contrary to what Minister Burch attempted to lead the Canberra community to believe, her offer today claws millions of dollars away from the ACT teaching workforce.

  • This is an insulting attempt to punish us for rejecting the hurried, incomplete and unsatisfactory offer in October last year. Even by ETD’s own account, claims like those concerning extreme temperatures, teacher librarians, school psychologists, principals, VET teachers and relief teachers – as well as the crucial work defining the core role of teachers, have only been addressed since October last year.

  • The key element of the new offer - a new 'Section Q' that defines the core role of teachers - only arose out of focus groups in December, instigated by the AEU. The ACT Government's premature offer in October did not genuinely respond to our log of claims - and it is now attempting to punish us for not accepting it!

  • In a display of utter contempt, Minister Burch re-announced the October pay offer yesterday as though it was news, while hiding the fact she was slashing it by removing back-pay.

  • If teachers and school leaders accept this latest offer, we will be agreeing to a pay freeze from 1 October 2014 until some time in July 2015. The 3% pay rise will apply for 2 months only, meaning it’s not 3% in the first year but 0.5%.

No resourcing to reduce excessive workload

  • The big hole in the first offer still remains in the second offer:  there is no resourcing to address the issue of excessive workload.

  • As discussed at March 21 Council, the offer does include a new section on the core role of teachers and lists a set of tasks teachers would not be expected to perform.  Following  our rejection of the incomplete October 24 offer, the Government finally began to listen to us about workload. While this new commitment to reduce workload exists on paper, there is no accompanying commitment to employing additional people in schools to take administrative and other work off teachers.

  • There is a basic incoherence at the centre of the Government’s position. It says it will take work off teachers but it won’t say who will do it instead. It is thus difficult to trust that words on a page will take effect in practice.

  • The Government has once again rejected our core claim for reduced face-to-face hours. It proposes that professional collaboration occurs on top of everything else in our working weeks, and that no time should be guaranteed. 

  • Faced with the evidence that ACT teachers are working incredibly long weeks, much longer than the national average, the Minister for Education has gone missing in action. She has shown no genuine commitment to enhancing the professional collaboration that the research shows improves student outcomes. There is no evidence that she raised our concerns with her ministerial colleagues, as Council requested, and as she agreed to do. We need an Education Minister who will stand up for educators.

All members are encouraged to meet in sub-branches to consider our response to the offer; and all Councillors are urged to attend May 9 Council to represent your sub-branch when we vote on it.

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