October 25 Council Report-back
A packed meeting deliberated on ETD's initial EA offer before sharing in a great annual conference.
Council Unanimously Rejects ETD’s Initial Enterprise Agreement Offer
Branch Council unanimously passed the following resolution in response to ETD’s initial offer.
AEU ACT Branch Council is deeply disappointed in the ACT Government offer to school teaching staff as received on 24th October 2014.
It is clear, from the offer as written, that the Government has dismissed the core priority and Claim 1 of the AEU ACT Branch log of claims for 2014. This fundamental failure, along with an inadequate pay model which leaves the ACT as no longer nationally competitive, renders the offer completely unacceptable in its current, admittedly sparse, form.
Branch Council notes the following points from the offer:
1. With the exception of once-only payments for teachers achieving certification, the offer is cost neutral, despite six months of bargaining.
2. The salary offer is wholly within the cost envelope of the Gonski 3% guaranteed increase for education funding.
3. Not one extra resource has been found to address the serious issue of excessive teacher workload and the challenge of maintaining sustainable, properly resourced professional learning communities which are key for improved student outcomes.
4. That this offer fails to address the needs of students in ACT public schools, it demonstrates the ACT Government does not adequately value the young people of the ACT.
As a consequence, Council does not view the Government offer to teaching staff dated 24th October 2014 as being worthy of serious consideration by the Union. Furthermore, Council reaffirms our support of the Union’s negotiating team in pressing for the full log of claims as agreed by AEU members in March 2014.
Numerous objections to the offer were discussed, including the following:
- If accepted, this salary offer would see the majority of our teachers slip into the bottom half of the states and territories salary table. Being 5th in the country behind Northern Territory, Western Australia, Victoria and NSW is far from “nationally competitive”.
- The Government has rejected our core claim for a modest reduction in face-to-face teaching hours. Instead they have offered for 3 of the compulsory PL days to be redistributed throughout the year. Nothing has altered our resolve to secure the investment required to make this a reality. The employer has acknowledged excessive workload has “take[n] teachers away from their core role” (p.6) and that “some aspects of teachers’ work in schools may have purposes not directly related to improving student learning” (p.7) but is not prepared to find the resources that will guarantee system change in this regard.
- For some years, the AEU has pursued a more sensible salary structure for principals. We can accept no more reviews or working parties, nor indeed “transitional arrangements” (p.13) nor promises to “develop the revised structure” (p.13) that are mooted in this offer. We need a new, functioning principal salary structure in this EA from Day 1, not eighteen months or more down the line. This part of the offer, perhaps more than any other, betrays the hurried and incomplete nature of the Government’s document.
- The offer is premature in the sense that a number of matters are still under negotiation and do not appear in this document. Members are now being told that if we are to achieve resource gains to support enhanced professional learning opportunities for principals, the specific needs of VET teachers, school psychologist attraction and retention or acceptable temperatures in workplaces, we will have to sacrifice other things.
Branch President & Secretary Elections
As advertised in the Term 4 ACT Educator, we will soon be calling for nominations for Branch Secretary and President for the two year term beginning January 1, 2015. Nominations open November 3. Glenn Fowler indicated he would be renominating for the position of Branch Secretary.
Welcome new members to Branch Executive
Welcome two new members - Julie Sherd & Anne Brown - to Branch Executive. Julie is our first School Assistant on Executive and Anne is a TAFE representative.
The Preschool Alternate Representative position is still vacant. If you might be interested (or know someone who might be), have a chat with Glenn!
Curriculum Review Discredited
The review has now become deeply discredited as a result of the participation of Professor Barry Spurr who has been revealed to have advanced a range of appalling views about women, Aborigines and a range of other members of our community. The Review was always going to be an ill-timed attempt to distract attention from the main issue in education: funding reform. Fortunately, it has largely failed. Read more here.
Early Intervention Services
AEU officers will continue to monitor the impact of the privatisation of Early Intervention Services, particularly with the announcement of the outcome of the tender process.
The Secretary will continue to update members on the Government’s oscillating position regarding the School Chaplaincy program.
Resolution supporting divestment from fossil fuels
Branch Council passed the following resolution.
Branch Council commends the work of the Pacific Warriors in drawing attention to the effects of the actions of successive Australian governments in promoting and facilitating the export of coal, a major contributor to rising sea-levels through global warming. Branch Council also commends the decision taken by the ANU to divest its financial holdings in coal production and export despite the hostile campaign run against that decision by the Coalition Government, right wing media and coal industry lobbyists.
Branch Council calls upon the Branch Secretary to communicate in writing with the leaders of all major political parties in the ACT Legislative Assembly, calling upon them to divest any financial holdings in BHP Billiton, Anglo American, Peabody Energy, Glencore, Exxon Mobil, as they are the largest-polluting companies in which the ACT government has direct investments.
Very successful strategic discussions were held on the following topics. The goals devised by each group will be fed into our 2015 strategic plan.
- Effective sub-branches
- School Assistants
- Supporting New Educators
- Behaviour management: AEU policy and practice
- Workload and workload committees
- Campaigning for public education and social justice
- Promoting equality and reducing discrimination in the workplace