Meetings commence on teacher salaries

Formal negotiations have commenced with the Department of Education around the new schools Award, which determines the salaries and working conditions of all teachers

Federation’s negotiating team has agreed to a series of meetings, with further agreement reached with the Department to hold additional meetings in order to negotiate the settlement of a new Award.

Federation has an absolute commitment to promote and increase the status of the teaching profession across the wider community and at all levels of government. As such, Federation, through its decision-making forums, has determined and dedicated itself to securing real growth in salaries and superannuation and to protecting and improving the working conditions of all teachers.

All teachers benefit from the salaries and conditions negotiated by Federation on behalf of members. Recruitment of new members is critical to the collective strength and power of the union.

Delegations to state Members of Parliament during the recent pre-2016 pay anomaly Week of Action reinforced that member-driven, grassroots activism has always been the source of union power.

Federation will continue to engage in negotiations with the Department to ensure a settlement of outstanding anomalies including the pre-2016 pay discrepancy, school counsellors’ access to standards-based pay and the principal classification scheme.

It is vital members stay well informed through their Association and workplace meetings, as well as reading communication from Federation.

Workplace meetings will be held in the week of 18 November to report on the salaries, staffing and membership campaigns. Meetings will include a brief video in which Senior Officers will update members on priorities and negotiations.

Federation is committed to goodfaith negotiations and reaching consensus with the employer around proposed terms of settlement before the end of the school year.

These commitments further allow time for any such proposal to be considered by the broader membership. Endorsement prior to the end of the calendar year will further ensure members receive negotiated pay increases by the first pay period in January 2020.

The nature of work being performed by teachers in NSW public schools, TAFE and other settings is becoming more complex and the needs of students increasingly multifaceted. This was the overwhelming finding of Federation’s 2018 research paper, Understanding work in schools: The foundation for teaching and learning. This has led to more responsibilities being placed on teachers, along with an expectation they develop additional knowledge and skills to do their work.

Public sector wage restraint is based on neoliberal economic theory that is dominant internationally.

Throughout Australia it has led to massive cuts in the number of public employees, reduced government services, and attacked the rights of workers to collectively bargain. In practice, it has created national wage stagnation in the public and private sectors, the transference of public income to private wealth, and rising inequality, all of which have serious deleterious consequences for the nation’s economic and social future.

As it stands in the Annual Conference decision: “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.”