Australian Education Union pushes through industrial agreement at delegates’ meetings
16 May 2017
The Australian Education Union (AEU) announced on Friday that delegates’ meetings in Victoria had approved its sell-out industrial agreement with the state Labor government. More than 55,000 public school teachers, education support (ES) staff and other Department of Education and Training workers covered by the agreement, must now vote on it in a secret ballot.
The union reported that 1,554 delegates had voted for the deal, and 334 against, or 82 to 18 percent. Delegate votes were allocated to schools on the basis of one per 20 unionised teachers and ES staff.
The outcome of the delegates’ meetings is the first product of a calculated, anti-democratic operation carried out by the AEU bureaucracy, which has been determined, from the outset, to prevent teachers from having any opportunity to discuss and consider the terms of the deal before voting on it. The delegates’ vote will now be used to try and pressure the bulk of teachers and ES staff to accept it as well.
The AEU is advocating a “Yes” vote in the secret ballot. Socialist Equality Party (SEP) members and supporters, who work in public education and oppose the government-union agreement, will step up their campaign among rank-and-file teachers and ES staff for a “No” vote.
The AEU deal with the government is the first time that a four-year industrial agreement has been made without any strike action by public teachers and ES staff, and without a single mass meeting. In 2013, there were three state-wide strikes and mass meetings, involving tens of thousands of school staff. This time, the union feared it could rapidly lose control of such actions, due to the already palpable hostility…