3 years ago

Australian Education Union, Victorian Branch

Australian Education Union, Victorian Branch

news CONGRESS pushes for

news CONGRESS pushes for job security Unions reject move to “shortterm insecure” employment culture. Justin Mullaly vice president, secondary THE ACTU Congress in Sydney saw unions unanimously endorse a plan of action to improve the working lives of Australians. Congress approved policies covering all aspects of work and union activities including delegates’ rights, young workers and unions, improved bargaining legislation, work/life balance, work health and safety, recognition of Australia’s first peoples in the constitution and the role of women in unions among many others. Reporting on the Secure Jobs, Better Future campaign, re-elected ACTU president Ged Kearney outlined how success would define the working lives of Australians for decades. She reported that 40% of Australian workers are employed in contract or casual work. With little or no job security, too many have no rights to holiday or sick leave, are paid varying amounts each week and often have little control over when they work and for how long. More than one million contractors are still employed casually after a year in the job and another 15% have been in their job for more than five years. They earn on average over 20% less than permanent full-time workers over ACTU president Ged Kearney a 35-hour week and can be sacked at short notice with no redundancy pay. Kearney called for unions to fight for these workers to have the same rights, entitlements and certainty as their permanent colleagues. “Australians don’t want a society where short-term, insecure work is the norm. We want a society where everyone has the right to a permanent job — to feel secure in their work, to grow their career, to support their family and own their own home.” With vocational education and training one of the keys to job security, and given the Baillieu Government’s savage cuts to TAFE, Victorian unions keenly followed the VET debate. Given the Federal Government’s foolhardy decision to allow VET to follow Victoria down the road to privatisation, the ACTU reaffirmed its commitment to a strong, high-quality and well-resourced TAFE system. Congress also considered policy on the important role of early childhood education and care, with delegates supporting the need to professionalise the childcare workforce. To locate Australian unions in an international context, Congress heard about the experiences of unionists in Fiji and Wisconsin — both of whom face anti-democratic anti-worker governments. ◆ Quality conference GRUEN Transfer panellist Dan Gregory (left) is among speakers at this year’s AEU K–6 Conference for early childhood and primary educators on August 17–18. The conference theme is Quality: Defining, achieving and celebrating the best of what we do. Gregory will speak on shifting parent and community perceptions about your school or kindergarten. Workshops will cover collaborating with families, mentoring, Reggio Emilia, science for young children, music teaching, teamwork and more. To register or find out more, go to ◆ PHOTO: PHILIP MARTIN Lesson well learned A 10-year-old takes the premier to task. YEAR 5 student Bailey Kitchen is still waiting for a reply to his letter to Ted Baillieu in support of the June 7 stopwork. The letter, forwarded by his mum, Bentleigh AEU member Shelley, was read out at Hisense Arena by AEU president Mary Bluett. Bailey, 10, wrote to the premier: “I know how hard teachers work because my Mum is a teacher and I see first hand the time she and all of the other teachers at the school work. “Some teachers even take on extra roles, area coordinator, lunch clubs, sports, etc which are all benefiting the students. Lots of these extra things are in the teacher’s own time.” He continued: “Teachers are a very significant part of society because … everyone deserves a good education. Without great Croydon Special Developmental School Support staff support teachers this can’t happen. “(My teachers teach us) good values such as honesty and respect … in their own actions and words and that shows I can trust them. When I see the ads on TV where you promise that Victorian teachers will be the highest paid in the country, I wonder if I can trust you.” Shelley later wrote to Ms Bluett, saying: “Thank you for taking notice of Bailey’s letter and showing him that some people are prepared to listen to what children have to say. “He has had no response from the Premier’s office and I expect he never will.” She added: “If students broke promises to their teachers, that would be considered unacceptable behaviour, so let’s try to teach Baillieu the lesson my 10-year-old has already mastered!” ◆ ES staff at Peninsula Specialist College EDUCATION support members were unable to strike on June 7 but backed their colleagues with a display of red in staffrooms across the state. ES members are covered by a separate agreement to teachers and principals, for which negotiations are still continuing weekly. Members can get progress reports at AEU regional meetings. Croydon Special Developmental School and Peninsula Specialist College in Dromana were among those where staff donned red AEU tee-shirts in solidarity. The support was reciprocated. Many members at the Melbourne rally cited low pay and insecure employment among ES staff as reasons for their anger at the Baillieu Government. ◆ 10 aeu news | june 2012

news SOUTH AUSTRALIA THE SA Government is copying Victoria’s changes to VET that threaten TAFEs and favour private training providers. AEU-SA vice president David Smith says the Weatherill-led Government’s “Skills for All” plan and its TAFE SA bill are “squarely based” on Victorian legislation. “The Government is desperately trying to distance itself from the Victorian disaster, but any politician with a little nous can see that it’s the same bodgie recipe,” Smith says. “It is unthinkable that South Australia, poised on the brink of a huge mining and defence boom, is throwing its world-class training provider to the wolves.” NEW SOUTH WALES TAFE funding was cut by $16m in this month’s NSW budget, with training delivery projected to decline by almost 250,000 contact hours. The budget also allocated $13m less to TAFE infrastructure and $25m less to support the training system. Opposition MPs said TAFE colleges would incur a disproportionate share of up to 10,000 public-sector job cuts in the next year. “This is the first time I have ever seen vocational training funding go backwards in dollar terms,” opposition education spokeswoman Carmel Tebbutt said. NORTHERN TERRITORY Contract teachers regularly went unpaid for their end-of-year leave until the end of January, until the AEU-NT branch intervened. Branch president Matthew Cranitch said he’d been “appalled” to learn the practice had existed for years. “Teachers having worked all year are sent off on the longest break, and to have their Christmas celebrations, with as little as one week’s pay,” he said. The union complained to the NT Education Department and contract teachers now receive their entitlements at the end of their contract. ◆ New push for GONSKI deal Web campaign urges Canberra to end delays over new funding system. NEW AEU campaign urges schools, A parents and communities to say they “give a Gonski” and put pressure on Julia Gillard to deliver a new funding system and a $5 billion boost to education. A poll of 1,261 Australians by Auspoll this month found that nine out of 10 believe that public schools urgently need greater funding and a majority support recommendations of the Gonski Review of education funding. Most state schools would get hundreds of thousands of dollars more every year if the recommendations were enacted. The panel chaired by David Gonski called for a new funding system, and the investment of an extra $5bn with the bulk going to state schools because they teach the majority of disadvantaged students. But any changes require federal legislation by the end of the year if they are to take effect in 2014. The Gillard Government has yet to commit Creating change $15,000 prize is on offer for the A winning school in an arts competition that aims to raise awareness and get young Australians actively involved in the initiative to end Indigenous disparity in one generation. The GenerationOne campaign’s CREATivE CHANGE competition encourages primary schools to Stay informed — Join the debate Keep up to date and have your say on the AEU’s campaign and social media sites. MY SCHOOL NEEDS TAFE4All ( Your starting point for the fight to save TAFE. My School Needs ( Our public campaign for the funding and resources we need to support our students. I give a Gonski ( Lobby the Federal Government to implement findings from the Gonski review. to the Gonski recommendations and Schools Minister Peter Garrett said this month that the amount of work needed to fill in the details of a new system could blow reforms out by a year. That may be too late. The Tony Abbott-led Coalition says it would not change the existing funding system if elected next year, at least until 2017. People can register their support for Gonski’s proposals on the I give a Gonski website, It explains why the review was initiated and why it recommended overhauling the existing funding system that favours private schools. Fact sheets, posters and logos can be downloaded. The campaign was prominent at the AEU’s June 7 rally, filming members talking about Gonski. The video can be found at Under the existing funding system, introduced by the Howard Government, between 65% and 70% of Canberra’s direct funding for perform and film their own version of the GenerationOne theme song, Hands Across Australia. Secondary schools are invited to use the Warumpi Band’s Blackfella/ Whitefella song to inspire a creative response to Indigenous disparity. The competition is open to all Australian schools, whether they have Indigenous students or not. In some rural areas, up to 70% schools goes to the Catholic and independent sectors. State schools’ share of Canberra money will decline by 12% in real terms over the next two years ($670 million a year) while funding to private schools increases by 15% over the same period ($1.3bn) Of those surveyed by Auspoll, 47% said their opinion of the federal Labor Government would improve if it acted on Gonski and 56% said their opinion of it would worsen if it didn’t act. How can you help? Go to to register your support for better funding. You can also write to or email your federal MP. Find contact details at ◆ We give a Gonski: pages 18–20. of Indigenous students regularly do not attend school and Indigenous students are half as likely to stay at school until the end of Year 12 as other students. A resource pack will be sent to every school this month. GenerationOne is supported by the AEU. More details at www. Entries close October 19. Facebook Twitter @marybluett, @aeuvictoria, and follow our campaigns at @tafe4all and @myschoolneeds. You Tube 11

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