Overwhelming support for teachers’ pay deal should be respected

Jeremy Rockliff,Minister for Education and Training

With 70 per cent of Australian Education Union members voting in principle to support the new teachers’ pay deal it is incumbent on the union’s executive to respect the will of their members.

As the union executive stated after endorsing the deal:

“This is a great offer for teachers and AEU Branch Executive will be strongly recommending members support the offer in an upcoming vote.”*

Rejection of the offer will mean that major benefits for teachers which have been negotiated will be unfunded and cannot proceed. This includes;

  • Two hours less instructional time for primary school teachers;
  • The employment of an additional 95 specialist teachers for primary schools;
  • Introduction of a new level 14 and pay rises for Advanced Skills Teachers (which would have benefitted over 50% of the teaching workforce);
  • Bonus payments equivalent to .5% in the first year for Band 1 Levels 1-13 in year one, and for Level 14 in year three;
  • The ability for appropriately qualified Teacher Assistants to take up positions under the Teaching Award, entitling them to all benefits, including paid school holidays.

This is an extraordinary, undemocratic and hypocritical backflip by the AEU.

The reduction in relief teacher pay loading was not just unanimously endorsed by the AEU executive, it was actually put to the Government by the AEU in an offer on May 6 which they proactively told media about and referred to as “a circuit-breaker”.

The AEU’s action makes it perfectly clear that the union movement is determined not to allow a resolution to be reached.

It appears pressure has been applied to the AEU executive from the Labor and union movement to try and kill off the deal, in spite of it being endorsed in a democratic vote of the workforce.

The union have claimed that they are a member-led organisation, and I would expect that the union’s executive would respect their members’ overwhelming endorsement of the deal.

We all want the best possible educational outcomes for our students and ultimately it is students who will benefit most from these improvements.


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