Editorial: What can we win in 2019?
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 124 No 1, 15 February 2019, page no. 5
Welcome to 2019.
The QTU turned 130 during the vacation – 130 years of looking after the interests of members and the needs of public education in this state.
This year is another year of opportunity to improve the lives of teachers and principals and of the students who are educated in state schools and in TAFE.
A federal election will be held in the first half of 2019, most likely in May. Three campaigns in which we are involved will turn, for good or ill, on the outcome of the election, and with it the fortunes of members and students.
The Fair Funding Now! campaign seeks a guarantee that federal funding will be available to ensure that every state school has the resources to achieve the goals of the Melbourne Declaration of the Goals of Schooling (a gap of $14 billion or more over 10 years); capital funding from the federal government to state schools, not just private schools; and better funding for students with disability.
Put TAFE First demands the re-establishment of TAFE as the premier provider of vocational education and training after the flawed and failed privatisation that saw students with debt but no training as private providers went belly-up. Public funds should be directed through and guaranteed to the public provider of quality VET, TAFE.
The union movement’s Change the Rules campaign seeks better pay and secure jobs for Australian workers through a fundamental re-write of the industrial relations laws. Inequality in Australia is at a seventy-year high; wages growth is stagnant; wage and superannuation theft are regular occurrences; more jobs are casual; underemployment is growing and employers can cut pay and conditions by terminating EB agreements.
Time for changes to be made
The QTU will be campaigning on the ground in at least 11 federal electorates in Queensland, more if members in other electorates want to do something in their local area. We will be supporting the Change the Rules campaign as part of the trade union movement.
What future do you want for yourself, your family, your colleagues, your students and their families?
This year is also an enterprise bargaining year for members in both the Department of Education and TAFE. Both agreements nominally finish on 30 June, so the Union wants negotiations to start as soon as possible.
Detailed logs (or lists) of claims were decided in November last year by QTU State Council for schools and the TAFE Council for TAFE. Consultation with members went on for months last year before these logs were endorsed.
In schools, there are four priority areas.
- Pay rises of 4.5 per cent per annum to improve teacher salaries compared to other states.
- Additional increases for promotional positions following the Promotional Positions Classification Review.
- Addressing teacher and principal workload.
- Gender equity issues around pay and conditions.
The logs of claim for both schools and TAFE are available on the QTU website.
We expect to be organising meetings of QTU members in both March and May to talk about progress and any action, including industrial action (strikes and bans), that we need to consider.
But wait there’s more! A list of other top-level priorities for the QTU in 2019 is available on the website. These include maximising permanency, addressing workload, dealing with NAPLAN and IPS, monitoring the implementation of SATE, reviewing plans around principal support and involvement, and developing specific plans to address the needs of casual/temporary teachers and new educators.
Having your say
Most of the time, decision-making in the QTU is by elected, representative bodies like the State and TAFE Councils, and Executive and TAFE Executive. Members attend branch meetings or hold school meetings to raise issues, which are then voted on at Council or Executive by people who work in schools and TAFE colleges who are elected to represent their area.
In 2019, there are two other opportunities.
The QTU Conference, held every two years, will meet during the winter vacation in Brisbane over three days. Two hundred and thirty delegates will review and adopt QTU policy across the entire range. If you want to put forward a new policy or a change to existing QTU policy, this is your year to go to a branch meeting and put forward your views.
As well, every four or five years, the QTU conducts a major membership survey through an independent company. 2019 is the second time we will send a survey to every member for whom we had an email address rather than a sample.
The results of the survey inform the planning and setting of objectives for the Union for the next five years. Make sure you have your say!
Best wishes for 2019. I hope to see you somewhere around the state as the year goes on.