Teachers’ voice to drive negotiations

The collective voice of school members — who want enhancement of their profession’s status and support for their work — will be taken into upcoming Award and Staffing Agreement negotiations with the Department of Education.

Informed by the outcomes of the statewide salaries survey of members, and the 2019 Annual Conference decision, Federation will negotiate to secure real salaries growth and defend existing working conditions. Executive is authorised to call statewide industrial action if there is any attempt by the State Government to reduce salaries or weaken existing working conditions.

On behalf of members, Federation will seek agreement from the Department for provision of system-wide support to assist teachers to deliver programs that improve the learning outcomes of all students, including:

  • an increase to permanent staffing levels, including additional release time, executive and specialist teachers across all settings and the provision of additional qualified permanent non-school based teachers
  • expansion of every school’s staffing entitlement, to address the casual teacher shortage and facilitate in-built teacher relief arrangements.

Members in last year’s workload survey ranked release from face-to-face teaching as the top strategy to increase time for collaboration on planning, programming, assessing and reporting.

Federation President Maurie Mulheron told September Council that the collaboration now required of teachers means extra time, “and it’s up to the employer to give that time”. He highlighted the gutting of regional support and consultancies that came with Local Schools, Local Decisions and had led to increased workload for teachers in schools.

Federation will seek genuine protections to regulate workload. The union wants the next Award to include explicit references to genuine consultation processes that recognise existing work pressures and the complexity of teachers’ work. Consensus-driven decision making and equal representation by unions should be integral to the consultation process, Federation will assert.

In negotiations, Federation will also pursue the resolution of anomalies:

  • Standards-based remuneration does not apply to school counsellors, education officers, home school liaison officers and Aboriginal school liaison officers. These groups of teachers are disadvantaged relative to classroom teachers in two areas in particular. First, they cannot access the Band 2 rate of pay as a casual teacher, which currently represents a shortfall of $18.36 per day for experienced teachers. Second, they cannot access Band 3 (Highly Accomplished), which lies between the top of the incremental pay scale and head teacher or assistant principal salary (currently an amount of $6621 per annum).
  • Issues associated with transition from the common incremental scale to standards-based remuneration. It is entirely unacceptable that teachers with less experience can be paid more than their colleagues who were employed before them, pre-2016.
  • Inequities and unnecessary complexities in the principal classification system. The union remains committed to a principal salary structure that is primarily based on school enrolments with a range of other measures to address complexity.

Members are encouraged to stay up to date with the campaign and follow developments through Federation’s social media channels, online media and email communication.

— Kerri Carr