Premier Will Hodgman must explain to students and parents why teachers, support staff and educational leaders in schools and TAFE are forced to walk off the job next week to secure immediate fixes for workload and fair pay, the AEU said today.
AEU teachers, support staff and principals in schools and managers in TAFE will join thousands of other public sector workers at Stop Work meetings on April 2 and 3 in response to the Liberal State Government’s failure to adopt immediate fixes to in-class support and fair pay.
“The Premier needs to explain to parents why he has not adopted key solutions to educator workload concerns or addressed fair pay and explain to them why he is again closing schools,” said Roz Madsen, AEU Tasmania State Manager.
“Will Hodgman’s government has failed to adopt key solutions such as better support for teachers battling large class sizes or a pay offer to teachers and support staff in TAFE and schools that demonstrates his government’s commitment to ensuring he can recruit and retain the very best educators for our students,” said Ms Madsen.
“AEU educators have categorically rejected the Hodgman Government’s political plan with 100% of the 150 schools and colleges voting to reject the government’s offer and a survey of more than 4000 teachers showing that 83% thought the government’s offer was below par.
“TasTAFE is battling well publicized teacher shortages and the Hodgman seems to believe that a 2% first year wage rise will reverse the troubling trend of our highly skilled teachers opting to work in the private sector, rather an educate our apprentices because workload is extreme and the pay is not competitive.
“Support Staff in schools, who often deal with the most challenging students, earn on average $25,000 a year and some are forced onto Centrelink payments when they are stood down at times including Christmas and Easter holidays. Will Hodgman is telling these education professionals that 2% is their next pay cheque is all that they’re worth.
“Will Hodgman’s failure to deliver solutions has forced educators in schools, colleges and TAFE into another round of unprecedented stop work action because they believe quality education is worth standing up for and if they don’t, no one else will.
The AEU’s elected Branch Council and Executive developed a counter offer for teachers which was delivered to the Government on 18 March and the Government given until close of business on Friday, 25 March to respond.
The Hodgman Government has failed to meet all deadlines and failed to respond to a range of concerns from support staff and teachers in schools, colleges and TAFE.
The AEU’s elected leadership, of serving educators in schools, college and TAFE, has reflected the wishes of the majority of AEU’s 5,550 membership and decided to participate in the public sector wide stop work action on April 2 and 3 next week.
AEU members will attend stop work meetings at the following locations:
- Burnie, Arts Centre, Tuesday April 2, at 2.30pm
- Launceston, Civic Square, Wednesday April 3, at 9.30am
- Hobart, City Hall, Wednesday April 3, 2.30pm
The AEU has more than 85% membership density in schools and the action is expected to result in the Hodgman Government deciding to close a number of schools in:
- The North West – schools will close early in the afternoon of Tuesday, April 2
- The North – schools will open late on Wednesday, April 3
- The South – schools will close early on Wednesday, April 3
AEU members will leave work in time to travel to the major meeting locations so school closure durations will vary. The stop work meetings are one hour approximately in duration.
Rejection of Government offer and AEU counter offer
The Government’s revised offer to school teachers did not move off 2% in the first year and included a grab-bag of new demands that stripped existing conditions.
On 15 March, the AEU wrote to the Premier advising him that members had rejected his revised bargaining offer and delivered to him a counter offer, the key components of which were:
- measures to address lack of in-class support such as caps on class sizes
- a fair pay rise of 3% each year that ensures Tasmanian teachers will not be the lowest paid in the country, over the life of a new agreement.
Despite seven months of negotiations, the Hodgman Government has failed to even put a formal offer to teachers in TAFE.
Support Staff, covered by the Public Sector Unions Wages Agreement (PSUWA), have receive two offers. The first offer made no mention at all of education issues, and the second lacked significant details and clarity on education issues.
Harriet Binet, AEU Tasmania, 0427 841 760