Report-back from September 6 Council
Council heard AEU Federal President, Angelo Gavrielatos, as well as a report on the status of negotiations for the new teacher EA.
Enterprise Agreement Update
Some claims have been agreed to in principle, others are still under negotiation. All claims need to be finalised before the EA package will be presented to members for acceptance. The expiry of the current Enterprise Agreement on September 30 is looming but it will continue to operate until a new Agreement has been negotiated.
At this stage, the employer has not agreed to our core claim for reduced face-to-face teaching hours. Hence we are now engaging in a campaign to win community support for this claim, drawing on the overwhelming response to our recent member workload survey.
Results of AEU ACT Member Workload Survey
1000 teachers say they are deluged by admin tasks: survey, Primrose Riordan, Canberra Times, September 7, 2014
Guest Speaker: AEU Federal President, Angelo Gavrielatos
Angelo provided an overview of the national education policy landscape.
- While Gonski funding is starting to flow this year the Commonwealth Government has undermined the reform by not forcing states to spend money according to the needs-based formula or even on education. Additionally, they are abandoning Gonski in 2017-2019, when the real resourcing boost was scheduled to come in. This would mean two thirds of Gonski funding will not be delivered and $30 billion will be cut from education over 10 years. We must keep campaigning hard over coming years to ensure public education is properly resourced.
- The Commonwealth Government’s recent announcement that they will maintain the Early childhood national partnership for another 12 months is a victory. It means the continuation of resourcing for 15 hours of preschool per week.
- Massive cuts to higher education and fee deregulation are also a concern. The prospect of $100,000 degrees will exclude many students from university. Increased interest rates on HELP debts will hurt current and future members.
Three Vacancies on Branch Executive
Expressions of interest for a General Membership Representative, a TAFE Representative and an Alternate Preschool Representative are invited to be submitted by cob Wednesday September 17. More info and EOI forms can be found here.
The Bill Book Program
Any member interested in spending a week in the AEU ACT office in Week 3 of Term 4 shold submit an Expression of Interest by Wednesday September 17. Find out more and download the EOI form here.
2014 Annual Conference – October 25
The 2014 Annual Conference will be held on October 25 (Saturday of Week 2, Term 4). Council will occur as normal that morning. All members will be invited to participate in a lunch and afternoon workshops to help determine our directions the coming year.
ACT shuns Pyne's Independent Public Schools
Minister Burch has written to us confirm that no ACT schools will become Independent Public Schools. Minister Burch writes: “I can confirm that under the agreement [with the Commonwealth], no schools will be identified as “Independent Public Schools”. The funding will assist the Directorate in building the capability of school boards, principals and school leadership teams to operate effectively…”
Questions Without Notice
Q. Confusion around the M-teacher program. Can the AEU liaise with UC to discuss details?
A. Meeting with Minister Burch scheduled to discuss the program.
Q. Are schools experiencing unreasonable delays with implementation of centralised software.
A. Software management issues have improved but with new software there are delays. New Shared Services Education IT manager, Bob Leach, is keen to visit schools to understand problems we’re facing. Invite him via your IT co-ordinator.
Q. Are part-time teachers being asked to plan for full-time curriculum delivery? Is this a trend?
A. Situations where an employee is part-time but has a full load of classes are not reasonable. Members should negotiate a satisfactory compromise and seek sub-branch and union office support where necessary.
School Assistants Report
- The new School Assistants Enterprise Agreement allows for a review of salaries and classifications. That committee will start meeting soon.
- If school assistants have paid for online training they may be entitled to reimbursement. See more information here or contact the AEU ACT office on 62727900 of you need support in this regard.
TQI Information Sessions
AEU recently co-ordinated with TQI to provide some information sessions to relief teachers. All teachers are able to pop into weekly information and support sessions at TQI, 170 Haydon Drive, Bruce, on Wednesday afternoons at 4pm.
Secretary’s Message of Support for Independent Education Union members taking industrial action
On behalf of the Australian Education Union ACT Branch, representing 3400 educators in ACT public schools and CIT, I offer you solidarity and support for today’s important industrial action. As workers and as educators, you are entitled to respect from your employer and not insult. The take-it-or-leave-it offer from your employer is an insult. As you know, it threatens to strip away crucial workload protections, to dismantle the logical hierarchical structures in schools, to isolate principals and shift all responsibility and blame on to their shoulders. We have been appalled to hear that your sick leave, lunch breaks and even weekends are under attack. Perhaps your reactionary employers don’t value time with families and work-life balance but we all rightly do. This insulting position should be opposed for as long as it takes. In the end you will win, but only if you hold your nerve and stick together. I understand that the vast majority but not all of your colleagues are with you today. You must commit to encouraging all of your colleagues in all of your schools to get behind the action as soon as possible. Division is undermining, but united you will be unstoppable. We are ready and willing to assist wherever possible.
Early Intervention Centres
AEU ACT is deeply concerned that the ACT Government’s plan to withdraw from provision of Early Intervention Services will leave our children worse off. A KPMG report commissioned by the Government was recently released and there will be an expo of new service providers on Saturday September 13. Our course of action will be determined after that.
Early Intervention Services transition report, KPMG, August 2014
School Chaplaincy Program
Earlier this year, the High Court’s ruled that the Commonwealth Government’s School Chaplaincy program was unconstitutional. The Commonwealth Government has been forced to distribute funding to States and Territories rather than funding the Chaplaincy Program directly. Minister Burch has adopted the admirable position that there should be an option for schools to choose secular welfare officers if they wish. The Minister and Chief Minister have made it clear that if the Commonwealth does not acquiesce to this position, it will discontinue the chaplaincy program.
Andy Jennings presented plans to develop a 'strategy for action' for each sub-branch, including planning framework, a campaign plan. These strategies will be developed at sub-branch sites with support from AEU organisers and be based on long term goals not just reactions to flash point situations.
Resolution Calling for Full Funding of Relief Staff
Council notes that ETD does not fully fund colleges to hire relief teachers to cover teachers who are on leave. This lack of resourcing puts colleges in an invidious position where either classes have to be cancelled and student outcomes potentially suffer or teachers are required to take on an additional workload that may potentially breach the EA. Council calls on ETD to fully fund the provision of relief staff in all colleges in keeping with community expectations. Educators should not be required to take on excessive workload, including extra face to face teaching hours, to compensate for inadequate resourcing.
Council further calls on ETD to fully fund the provision of relief staff in schools in all sectors.