18 May 2016  |  No. 13-16 | Download PDF 

EB8: Formal bargaining commences

The department tabled its list of issues for EB negotiations on 5 May 2016.  A copy of the list is attached.

While formal bargaining commenced with the list of issues, the QTU and DET have been in informal discussions since March, when the QTU Council adopted the Union claim and provided it to the department.

The department will elaborate its initiatives in coming weeks of negotiations.  There is a clear difference between the Union and the department on salary increases.  Other department initiatives that may well prove contentious include:

  • standardising requirements for senior teachers
  • the uses of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers
  • “optimisation” of non-contact time
  • the use of staff meetings
  • the use of interns.

The Union is very conscious of the impact of any agreements on already excessive workloads.

EB ballots

QTU State Council on 14 May made three significant decisions concerning the EB campaign:

  1. school-based meetings to consider EB and Gonski campaigns
  2. starting a ballot in June for protected industrial action; and
  3. conducting a ballot of members before the end of July on the offer on the table at that time.

Negotiations are occurring under Newman-era legislation.  A ballot for protected industrial action can be sought no earlier than 1 June, and in 2012 that ballot, run by the Electoral Commission, took 10 weeks.  It would be mid-August before any action was possible.  Even though negotiations are at an early stage, the ballot for industrial action has to commence as soon as possible.  The ballot will include proposals for both strike action and work bans.

In 2012, the Newman government also delayed settlement for two months (around class size targets among other things) which meant the new agreement started on 1 September rather than 1 July.  This affected teachers on defined benefits superannuation – they had to work an extra year to get the same pay-out.  The QTU has negotiated the possibility of 1 July start date for the new agreement by extending the old agreement for 10 months rather than 12.  But the new agreement has to be acceptable in its own right.  The cut-off under usual government policy for a 1 July agreement will be 31 July.  As it did in 2012, the Union will run a membership ballot on the best agreement available before 31 July.  If it is not acceptable, the QTU will conduct the ballot but recommend a “NO” vote, as it did in similar circumstances in 2012.

More details of school-based meetings will follow in the near future.  

Federal election: To Gonski or not?

The federal election will decide the full implementation and the future of the needs based funding model proposed by the Gonski review.  This election is the last chance to secure the full model.

At risk is $725 million of additional funding for Queensland schools in 2018 and 2019 – the final two years of the six year phase-in initiated by the ALP in government and repudiated by the current Coalition government.  More important is the principle of needs-based funding in the Gonski model.

At the NSW Teachers’ Federation Council on 7 May, at an event attended by QTU State Council on 14 May, and in Queensland schools from Cairns to Brisbane in between, ALP leader Bill Shorten spoke about this federal election being “the education election.  A referendum on the future of education in this country”. 

The QTU and our national union, the Australian Education Union, are campaigning in this election in support of the Gonski review and the funding package.  In Queensland we know it as Investing for Success.

On Saturday, at the QTU State Council, the AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe, launched the publication “Getting Results – Gonski funding in Australian Schools”, showing the benefits of the current level of funding and the opportunities for the full Gonski in 24 Australian schools, including ten Queensland schools.

Some commentators say that money doesn’t matter – the evidence of these 24 schools says otherwise.

Further activities are planned in specific areas and across the state (and nation):

  • school-based meetings (together with EB issues)
  • 26 May – National Public Education Week
  • 19 – 24 June – National Gonski Week
  • member-to-member phone calling in some areas
  • distributing Gonski brochures outside schools
  • TV, newspaper and digital advertising.

Enrol to vote

The last day to enrol to vote or change your enrolment details for the federal election is Monday 23 May.  Go to the Australian Electoral Commission website.

Make sure your vote counts on 2 July!

Superannuation and the federal budget

The 2016 Federal Budget is in and QSuper has taken a closer look at the changes, and how they could impact you. Just remember though that these are proposals only at this stage and still need to be passed into law. Take a look at the key highlights at the QSuper website.

Commercialisation in Public Schooling (CIPS) research project

You are invited to participate in a survey that will gather views, and concerns, regarding commercialisation in public education, i.e. the provision by commercial organisations of products and services in curriculum, pedagogy, assessment and administration in public schools.  The survey is for members of the Australian Education Union (AEU).  

This information will assist the AEU in understanding the scope of commercialisation in public education in Australia and the extent of concern held by members.  The research team conducting the survey is led by Professor Bob Lingard and comprises academics from The University of Queensland (UQ) and Queensland University of Technology (QUT).  You can access the survey at https://survey.qut.edu.au/f/186317/128b/

The first page of the survey provides further information.  There is no obligation to participate and the survey will be completely anonymous.  It is expected that the survey will take 15 minutes to complete.  Although the findings of the survey may be published, none of the information you provide will be/can be linked back to you as an individual or your school.

The survey will be open from 26 April until 3 June 2016.

 Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union