We are stronger together, now is the time to create change

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The education reforms our schools need.

A qualified teacher in every classroom

Every day, thousands of students in ACT public schools go without a qualified teacher because their class has been split, collapsed or cancelled.

821 classes a week

The average number of classes without a qualified teacher.

Realistic workloads

The average teacher reported working 45.65 hours a week during term time, not including time worked during designated stand down periods. Most reported working 10+ hours a day.


Hours teachers actually worked


Hours teachers paid to work

No more unpaid work

Through work in the evenings, on weekends and in the school holidays, teachers work an additional 20% unpaid time beyond their paid hours.

$75 million a year

a conservative estimate of how much teachers save the ACT Government through unpaid overtime every year.

Resource schools to succeed

The ACT’s public schools are funded like a franchise: schools are asked to meet targets set by education bureaucrats and politicians, but never given enough resources to meet them. The result is overwork and burnout.


of school principals say they lack the necessary resources to meet system demands.

Nearly 80%

of principals said system demands should be reduced.

The Latest Updates

What's the process


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Spread the Word


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What's the process


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Enterprise bargaining is the process of negotiation generally between the AEU and the ACT Government, with the goal of making an enterprise agreement. It is how we set the working conditions of teachers and (ultimately) the learning conditions of our students. That’s why enterprise bargaining is so important to our work as teacher-unionists.

At the moment, the AEU is negotiating with the ACT Government for improvements to teacher pay and conditions. Not paying teachers what they are worth and denying them the time to be the best teacher they can be is undermining the profession, and the quality of education our teachers strive to deliver every day.

If we are to address the worsening teacher shortage crisis and meet the needs of students, the ACT government must listen to our enterprise bargaining claims.

We have a comprehensive set of claims in relation to workloads, pay and school resourcing that aims to genuinely reform the way our schools work. Some of the main claims we have include:

  • Let teachers teach. We need dedicated time outside of the classroom where teachers are free to conduct their own professional duties.
  • Reduce the red tape, over-reporting and duplication of work.
  • Resource schools properly not just for student learning conditions, but also to ensure that staff can access their workplace rights and entitlements.
  • Pay teachers a fair wage that it comparable to similar professions.
  • Recognise that all work should be paid work and stop relying on volunteering and goodwill to run our schools.

We’re not just asking for these things because they benefit teachers. Because of the national teacher shortage, thousands of students in the ACT miss out on a dedicated teacher every day because their class is split, collapsed or cancelled. Our students deserve better, but spiralling workloads and unpaid overtime are driving good people out of our profession.

Teachers in the ACT have not taken industrial action for more than a decade. However, when we cannot reach agreement with our employer, we consider ways to encourage them to take our concerns and our claims more seriously. If negotiation fails, we consider industrial action.

According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, under the FW Act, industrial action is relevantly defined as the following actions:

  • employees performing work in a manner different to how it is normally performed
  • employees adopting a practice that restricts, limits or delays the performance of work
  • a ban, limitation or restriction by employees on performing or accepting work
  • a failure or refusal by employees to attend for work or perform any work.

This could mean a half-day stop work action where teachers attend a rally rather than going to school, or it could be teachers refusing to do certain parts of their duties. While we don’t like to see students missing out on anything, they miss out on more when we don’t stand up for our working conditions and our students’ learning conditions.

The ACT Government is not taking the teacher shortage seriously. In enterprise bargaining discussions, it has failed to come up with real solutions to the teacher shortage crisis. Even worse, the ACT Government’s pay offer to teachers was a real-terms pay cut.

Throughout the pandemic, we saw just how vital schools are in keeping our children learning and our communities running. Teachers were exposed to Covid-19 before many others in as they resumed work with some of the only people in our community who cannot be vaccinated. They worked dozens of hours of unpaid overtime to move schools from in-person learning, to remote learning and back again. But staff shortages in 2022 were so serious that students were being sent to remote learning or, perhaps worse, taught in unsafe combined classes of more than 60 students.

The ACT Government needs to show teachers that they are valued and send a message to the community that it is doing everything it can to make careers in public education attractive. Offering the most experienced and often hardest-working staff a pay cut sends a signal that teachers are not valued and that the ACT Government is in denial about the teacher shortage crisis.

If we cannot find a way around the current areas of disagreement between teachers and the ACT government, the AEU will apply to ballot members about industrial action. That process can take weeks, but if successful it is likely that we would be eligible to take protected industrial action around the second half of term 1.


Sometimes, industrial action (such as stop work action) will lead to some loss of pay. However, taking industrial action often leads to a significantly improved pay offer from the Government. It’s a short-term loss for long-term gain.

Maybe. It depends on the action that we choose to take. Given that the vast majority of teachers are AEU members, it is inevitable that some schools will close if we take stop work action.

Staff who are not members of the AEU are not entitled to participate in industrial action and will likely be required to attend work while union members take action.

In some cases, all you may need to do is stop doing a particular task or duty. Depending on the type of action we take, we will provide members with more detailed instructions about what to do and when.

If we take stop work action, students might miss out on their regular learning for one morning. If we don’t take action and the teacher shortage continues, thousands of students will continue to miss out on their learning every day.

Teacher working conditions are student learning conditions. We need well-resourced, fully-staffed schools to give our children every chance to succeed.

We will keep members updated through member emails, social media posts and text messages. We will be sure to make it clear to members and to the community that we are standing up for our profession, and for the education our children deserve.

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