QTU Members' Newsflash No. 7-19, 20 May 2019 | DOWNLOAD PDF
From election to EB
Federal election outcome and Fair Funding Now!
The result of the federal election was very disappointing. It does not reflect the efforts of hundreds if not thousands of QTU members who campaigned for Fair Funding Now! for state schools, to Put TAFE First in vocational education and training, and to Change the Rules for employment rights for Australian workers – efforts that have been put in over the past three years, not just the five weeks of the election campaign proper.
Thank you to every member who played a part, however small, in those campaigns. Thank you to the incredibly dedicated group of member activists who phoned, knocked on doors, letter-boxed, ran market stalls and more. Your efforts for these good causes deserved a better outcome.
The issues on which we campaigned were not at the forefront of voters’ minds when they voted. But the causes we supported remain.
On school funding, our cause is to ensure that every school is funded to the schooling resource standard (SRS) and every child, irrespective of their personal circumstances, has the opportunity to be the best that they can be.
And so, after a rest for our campaigners and a chance to review our strategies, the campaign will continue, albeit with a federal government that has been at times indifferent, at times hostile to public education and workers’ rights.
In the short term, the Union’s focus is now solely on the negotiations for new enterprise bargaining agreements for members in schools (EB9) and TAFE (EB10).
EB9 – negotiating to improve salaries and conditions
The negotiations for improved salaries and conditions continue, however progress is slow. While there has been some advancement on minor issues, they go nowhere toward addressing the key elements of the claim: a new classification structure and salaries for those in promotional positions; measures to address increasing workload pressures; taking steps to redress gender employment inequity and salaries that are comparable to our interstate colleagues and address rising living costs.
The current agreement expires in six weeks.
In anticipation that an agreement cannot be reached before 30 June, the QTU is hosting area meetings from 27 May to 3 June. As many members as possible should attend these meetings to be updated on the progress of negotiations and to consider industrial action as the next step in the campaign. Information about your nearest area meeting can be found on the QTU website.
One of the state government’s election commitments in 2017 was to conduct a review of teacher workloads to identify excessive and unproductive work teachers are currently being asked to undertake. The Union has called on the state government to deliver on this commitment.
It is unsurprising that the recent QTU member survey has confirmed that more than 50 per cent of members identify workload as a major issue, given its feature as a key priority in the EB9 campaign.
The Union has advised the government that the review should be a joint Union/department review; that it must be teacher and school leader led, and that the scope of the review must extend beyond “red tape reduction” or remedies that address the health effects of overwork but do not address its causes.
The QTU believes the review should canvass the impact of cascading, sometimes contradictory, expectations of the work of school leaders, heads of programs and teachers; realistic evaluation of workload impacts in the decision-making for the introduction of initiatives; unproductive or low value contributors to workload that should be removed; and mechanisms to challenge the imposition of excessive workload at a local and systemic level.
It is vital that the new agreement contains measures to address workload and that this review is a priority both in an effort to address the health and wellbeing of teachers, heads of programs and school leaders and assist in attracting and retaining teachers.
The Union awaits the government’s response.
Special membership offer
Have your say on your salaries and conditions. Only financial members of the QTU can attend EB area meetings or participate in ballots regarding any salary and conditions offers or industrial action.
Now is the time for those considering joining to take up membership, with half price dues from now until end of the year. This means new members will get two months for free.
For more information on the offer, contact your Workplace Reps, Organiser or go to www.qtu.asn.au/join