History 1889 - 2018

QTU Milestones

ALMOST 130  YEARS OF ACHIEVEMENT AND SUCCESS

 

1886

Responding to widespread dissatisfaction with salaries and a promotion system based on the autocratic whim of bureaucrats, a group of teachers form the West Moreton Teachers’ Association, encouraging colleagues elsewhere in the state to follow their lead.

1887

The East Moreton Teachers’ Association is launched.

1888

Teacher’s associations are formed in Maryborough, Toowoomba, Gympie and Rockhampton. When a Royal Commission into the Civil Service is launched, the various associations work together on their submissions, and the value of a united voice becomes obvious.

1889

Between January 9 and 12, 1889, seven teachers’ associations gather for a conference at the School of Arts, Brisbane, and the Queensland Teachers’ Union is born.

1892

 A limited legal defence fund is launched.

1895

The Queensland Education Journal, the fore-runner of today’s Queensland Teachers’ Journal, is published for the first time.

1913

Queensland's public service superannuation scheme begins operating, following a long campaign headed by the QTU.

1914

Union membership reaches 1,007, 55 per cent of the state’s teacher total.

1916

 The state government introduces the Industrial Arbitration Act, which brings in compulsory arbitration and official recognition for unions registered with the new arbitration court. The QTU registers almost immediately.

1917

The QTU is granted industrial registration, giving it exclusive coverage of the state school system. Later that year, the first teachers’ award is registered, becoming the first in Australia.

1920

The QTU secures union preference.

1921

As a result of the Union’s successes, membership soars to 4,317. The Union’s first full-time secretary, William Geraghty, is appointed to deal with the extra workload.

1925

QTU Conference rejects affiliation with the Australian Labor Party

1929

The QTU opens the first Teachers’ Building, on Elizabeth Street, Brisbane.

1930

The onset of the Great Depression sees the Country Party government remove teachers from the jurisdiction of the Arbitration Court, slash salaries by up to 26 per cent, and remove union preference. The salary losses are not made up until 1939.

1938

 The QTU library is opened

1947

Equal pay for male and female teachers becomes QTU policy.

1948

The Union’s application for equal pay is rejected by the Industrial Court.

1951

Ruth Don is the first woman to become QTU President.

1965

The Queensland Teachers’ Credit Union is established.

1967

A Union application for equal pay for male and female teachers is finally granted by the Industrial Court.

1968

Teachers vote for strike action after the state government responds to a teacher shortage with the Emergency Teacher Scheme, which would have placed teachers in high schools after just eight weeks training. The plan was withdrawn, but the dispute prompted the Union to call for compulsory teacher registration. 

1969

The QTU appoints its first regional organiser (then called an itinerant officer). Keith Storey travels across Queensland helping members resolve their problems.

Gavin Semple is elected as the QTU’s first full-time President.

1972

Equal pay for male and female teachers is finally a reality.

The Queensland Teachers’ Union Health Society begins operations from an office in the Teachers’ Building.

1973

Threats of strike action force the state government to agree to the progressive reduction of class sizes, down to 36 in 1974 and eventually to 32 in 1977.

Around 10,000 teachers stage a half day stoppage in protest at the state government’s unacceptable salary offer of between 7.5 and 12 per cent. The Industrial Commission later grants rises of up to 23 per cent.

1974

The Union withdraws teachers from schools in Laura and Pasha because of unsatisfactory accommodation. As a result of the dispute, the state government commits to providing housing for teachers in country and remote areas for the first time.

The QTU moves into a new Teachers’ Building on Boundary Street, Brisbane.

1975

After years of QTU pressure, compulsory teacher registration is finally introduced

1976

The state government under Premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen sacks three Charters Towers teachers for smoking pot. Rolling strikes take place at 52 schools as a result.

1978

The Bjelke-Petersen government bans MACOS, a social study course, and SEMP, a social education materials project, from Queensland schools. A public outcry led by the QTU forces the government to appoint a select committee on education.

1979

Bjelke-Petersen introduces the Essential Services Bill. Aimed at banning strikes, the bill includes severe penalties for strikers, unions and officials.

1980

The QTU conducts its first statewide rolling strikes in support of a work value claim. Salary increases of 6.5 per cent are granted as a result of the case.

1981

Undaunted by the Bjelke-Petersen government’s hard-line view on industrial action, teachers in Moranbah strike for five days to secure improved locality allowances. In spite of Joh’s threat that they could “strike till the cows come home”, they win a review of the system.

1982

Teachers strike for 24 hours in support of striking railway workers, after the state government invokes its essential services legislation.

QTU members again take industrial action over class sizes, after which the government agrees to bring the target for years 4 to 10 down to 30.

1987

The state government announces plans to abolish 17.5 per cent leave loading for teachers and other public servants. The QTU successfully leads the fight to have the decision reversed.

1989

Centenary of the QTU, the oldest teacher’s union in Australia. Wayne Goss forms the first Labor state government in 32 years.

1990

The Union wins an award restructuring agreement, securing a single salary scale and, with pay rises of between 8 and 20 per cent, bringing Queensland teacher salaries up to par with their interstate colleagues.

Around 130 schools take stop work action after the state government reneges on a promise to introduce the Remote Area Incentive Scheme (RAIS). It is the first widespread industrial action since 1982.

1991

The state government backtracks and brings in a limited version of RAIS.

1992

QTU signs up its 30,000th member.

1993

A 24 hour strike, the first in over a decade, is staged in response to cuts to the education budget, including the loss of 500-600 teaching jobs and a ban on inservice training in school time. Around 10,000 teachers attend mass meetings.

For the first time, the QTU takes sides in a federal election campaign, launching the “For Our Children’s Sake, Put The Coalition Last” campaign in response to the threat its policies pose to the union movement.

The QTU launches a TAFE division, featuring separate TAFE branches and council.

1994

A QTU campaign succeeds in ensuring that teachers facing allegations from students are no longer suspended without pay.

1995

For the first time, all Queensland teachers have access to non-contact time after 10,000 QTU members in pre-schools, primary and special schools take industrial action. The Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) grants two hours non-contact time to all teachers.

1996

More than 900 teachers in 30 schools in remote areas stop work for 48 hours in protest at the state government’s inadequate RAIS scheme. The action forces the state government to almost quadruple the RAIS budget.

1997

The QTU reacts furiously when the state government introduces the Leading Schools plan into EB without consultation. The Union believes that the school-based management pilot could result in funds currently used to employ teachers being diverted, effectively making schools choose between staff and resources. Around 5,000 teachers attend a rally in Brisbane and the QTU stages its first statewide, full-day strikes in four years, demanding guarantees that changes to staffing will only be made if the majority of staff endorse it. The government eventually relents.

The third Teachers’ Building, the former Australian Federal Police building in Graham Street, Milton, is officially opened by ALP leader Kim Beazley. He launches the Union’s website – www.qtu.asn.au – on the same day.

1998

Salary demands go to arbitration, and the IRC imposes increases of up to 17.5 per cent.

The hated Leading Schools scheme is finally killed off by the incoming Labor state government.

2000

EB negotiations are in stalemate after a “take it or leave it” offer of 3 per cent is rejected. A statewide strike is called, forcing the state government to accept arbitration.

Queensland Teachers’ Education Centre (QTEC) launched to provide membership training.

The QTU’s Cairns office opens.

2002

QTU opens new Mackay office.

2003

Strikes planned over an EB impasse are blocked by IRC orders. Instead, the Union launches a Class Size Counts publicity campaign. It bears fruit, as EB4 includes a class size reduction from 30 to 28 in years 4 to 10.

2004

The Next Step, a document laying out a strategy for the future of the QTU, is published.

QTU membership hits 40,000.

2005

The QTU signs up to the Your Rights At Work campaign, launched to counter John Howard’s proposals for draconian IR laws

Queensland Teachers’ Advice Desk (QTAD) and the Campaign Action Group (CAG) are established, both as part of the Next Step strategy.

2006

In the face of the the Coalition’s disastrous IR and education policies, the Union decides to play an active role in the forthcoming federal election.

The Retiree Action Group (RAG) is launched.

2007

QTU members take to the streets for the Your Rights At Work campaign, playing a vital role in ensuring that the Howard government loses the federal election.

2008

QTU members in some of Queensland's remotest areas take strike action over the appalling state of teacher accommodation, forcing the state government to pump an extra $20 million into the departmental accommodation maintenance budget.

2009

The Queensland Teachers' Union celebrates its 120th anniversary.

The QTU stages a statewide strike, the first in almost nine years, over the state government's refusal to improve on an unacceptable EB offer. Further strikes are halted when the state government takes the issue to arbitration. The Union continues to campaign for salary justice, however, and eventually succeeds in securing an agreement that, among others things, makes Queensland's new teachers the highest paid in the country.

2010

The QTU joins with teacher unions across Australia in placing a moratorium on NAPLAN testing. The move was made in protest at the federal government's My School website, which uses NAPLAN results to unfairly compare schools, something for which they were never designed. Despite an intervention by the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission, which attempts to ban the action, the campaign forces the federal government into setting up a working party to review the website.

2011

The QTU Natural Disaster Relief fund processes more than 400 claims and almost $320,000 is paid to members in the wake of floods and cyclones. The Right to Teach, Right to Learn campaign is launched.

2012

QTU members rejected the Government’s only offer made during enterprise bargaining negotiations and vote to take industrial action. After a campaign punctuated by several public rallies, the Government revises their position by maintaining the 2.7 per cent increase in pay per year as well as protecting more than 20 working conditions previously at risk. 

2013

A year of protests with Union members across the state turning out to send a strong message to the State Government about:  job security across the public sector; failure to support public education; its attacks on TAFE; a lack of support for the Gonski recommendations; and its continued support of the flawed ‘Great teachers=Great results’ initiative. Despite the State Government’s decision to move the Labour Day public holiday from May to October, the QTU saw record numbers participate in the annual Labour Day celebrations in May.

2014

QTU celebrates 125 years of promoting and protecting public education.

2015

Workload concerns prompt QTU members to vote overwhelmingly to ban implementation of new learning areas of the Australian Curriculum. It is lifted later in the year when Education Minister Kate Jones agreed to an implementation pause and renegotiated timelines.

QTU representatives return to principal selection panels, two years after being removed by the Newman LNP state government.

2016

Teachers at Yeronga State High School make QTU history, becoming the first members to take industrial action over a human rights issue. They stopped work for one hour in support of a student threatened with deportation.

2017

Two far-ranging projects emerge from the successful EB8 enterprise bargaining negotiations. A Promotional Positions Classification Review (PPCR) is set up, to be completed by the end of 2018. In addition, highly accomplished and lead teacher classifications will be created, with the process beginning with a pilot in 2017, a memorandum of agreement by 31 December 2017, and a work-value assessment in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission to establish salary levels by 30 June 2018. The first HATs and LTs will receive these salaries in 2019.

2018

More than 20,000 QTU members vote to ban NAPLAN Online and call for a full review of the NAPLAN testing regime. The ban is not lifted until the state government backs a review and agrees to negotiate an enforceable joint statement controlling the high stakes test’s undesirable impacts

The Department of Education agrees to update the student dress code procedure for state schools to allow girls to wear shorts or pants, something for which the Queensland Teachers’ Union has long advocated for.

The QTU opens its new Springwood office.

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