Australian teachers’ agreement: The reality behind union “victory” claims


Australian teachers’ agreement: The reality behind union “victory” claims

Susan Allan

6 April 2017

An in-principle four-year industrial agreement covering public school teachers in the state of Victoria marks another sell-out deal organised by the Australian Education Union (AEU).

Worked out last month with the state Labor government of Premier Daniel Andrews, after twelve months of back-door negotiations, the deal saw the union call off planned industrial action by teachers before it even began. Unlike previous industrial agreements, this one has been finalised without any strike action or mass meeting of teachers. The union aims to prevent any discussion among teachers and ram through the agreement by lying about its contents and claiming it represents a “win” for teachers.

In reality, on every key issue confronting school staff, the AEU and government have worked together to entrench and deepen the assault on the public education system.

Excessive teacher workload will continue, leading to increased teacher stress impacting on overall student learning

Meredith Peace, president of the Victorian branch of the AEU, claims that the agreement addresses “crushing workload” by giving teachers four “Professional Practice Days” a year, supposedly allowing them to catch up with out-of-classroom work while a relief teacher covers their classes.

In the lead-up to the sell-out deal, the union reported that negotiations had hit a sticking point over workload, and were preparing to strike over the issue. Before the ballot for industrial action had even begun, the union announced a “win” on the basis of the new Professional Practice Days. The new measure does not, however, even begin to address intense workload pressures.

Teachers are already working on…

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