Teachers oppose Australian Education Union sell-out deal at Victorian delegates meeting
3 May 2017
The Australian Education Union (AEU) in Victoria has commenced anti-democratically convened delegates’ meetings, aimed at ramming through its sell-out deal with the state Labour government on a new four-year salaries and conditions agreement for public school teachers.
The deal was announced last month by AEU President Meredith Peace, via the media, after 12 months of closed-door negotiations with the Andrews government. Peace claimed that it represented a “significant gain” that addressed “crushing workloads,” and “insecure employment” for thousands of contract teachers and Education Support (ES) staff.
Contrary to the AEU’s claims, the deal amounts to a wage freeze, ever-closer monitoring of teacher performance, no reduction in teacher workloads and a sweeping commitment to ongoing educational “reform.”
The union intended to push through the deal with little or no discussion. Union branches had hardly any time to organise branch meetings, discuss the document and elect delegates to attend state-wide delegates’ meetings. Moreover, as soon as the deal was made public, the AEU began deleting any critical posts from its Facebook page, including those influenced by the analysis presented on the World Socialist Web Site.
The first ratification meeting was held on Monday evening at AEU headquarters in Abbottsford, beginning two weeks of delegates’ meetings across the Melbourne metropolitan area and in regional and country centres.
During the course of the two and a half hour meeting, teacher numbers dwindled, as many delegates simply deposited their vote in the ballot box and left. Those who remained—around 60–70—represented a…