Ballot open – Members on Teachers’ Agreement to vote on new deal

This week, members on the Teachers’ Agreement – including teachers, principals and school psychologists – received correspondence to vote on a short-term DoE agreement.

Your AEU sees this as a temporary measure, that ensures those on the teaching agreement get a March pay rise while we continue negotiating for a longer term agreement starting within two weeks of the ballot closing.

This enables us to continue to push for workload wins in schools and for a fairer pay rise. 

The longer version of the story is that during our push for a long-term agreement that will bring solutions to workload in schools and to pay, especially with the cost of living, we have been dealing with a government that has failed to produce an offer that puts forward any solutions at all.

While these negotiations continued, we were told there would be no annual pay rise in March and no back pay if this was agreed at a later date.

More recently, as part of the COVID plan, it was put forward by the DoE, that as COVID escalated in schools, the Department would like to explore the option of using teachers to work above their instructional load and for extra pay to be used to justify this ask.

We know that for some schools, this already happens, without the pay, often termed a ‘supervision’ or in Primary schools, it can simply mean losing your release time.

In fact, this was a highlighted issue in our Log of Claims and we asked for something to be put in place to acknowledge teachers that go above and beyond the agreement.

As well as a 2.35% pay rise in March, negotiators ensured that any extra work would be paid at a relief rate of 82% loading on your salary. Extra trauma funding in 2023 would also be brought forward to Term 3 2022 and Principals, who had seen their school classified above their current level, would be given a Higher Duties allowance backdated to the start of the year. 

For us to push for a bigger pay rise and demand workload actions now, we would need to launch a major industrial action campaign.

The feedback from AEU organisers, who continually speak to Reps in schools, is that members are not in the right space to take that action on – and justifiably so, with all the extra energy being focussed on teaching through COVID.

We will need to work with our Reps and, you, our members, to build a campaign that is ready to take action in the second half of the year. 

Please have your say by voting. If you disagree with the offer, that’s ok, you can vote No, but our Executive who deal more closely with these negotiations recommended to Branch Council to endorse this deal, which they did, recommending a Yes vote.

For our ESP members, we are busy in the process of developing your log of claims and a big thank you to those who completed the survey, giving us valuable feedback. We are also in discussions with other Unions – also part of the PSUWA agreement that ESP members are assigned to – to ensure our concerns are included in the Log of Claims. There is still work to do and we have this as one of our main focusses moving forward. 

David Genford,

AEU Tasmania President