Negotiations break down

NEGOTIATIONS between the Australian Education Union and the State Government concluded last Thursday, in a “disappointing” outcome for the union.

As a consequence the AEU announced it would make an application to Fair Work Australia for a protected action ballot on behalf of Victorian public school teachers and principals.

According to AEU Victorian branch president Mary Blewett, Gippsland principals and teachers were “angry and disappointed”, flagging the government’s recent actions as “a broken pre-election commitment” to ensure Victorian teachers were the highest paid.

The union called on the State Government to increase teachers’ pay by 10 per cent annually, to be on par with Western Australian teachers.

Their claim was however deemed “unrealistic, unsustainable and out of touch with community standards” by State Teaching Profession Minister Peter Hall.

Comments from the minister released in a statement said “through negotiations, the teacher’s union has offered no productivity gains or improvements”, adding the government was willing to continue negotiations “in good faith”.

Ms Blewett further criticised the government’s proposal of performance pay, saying it would not only “limit the number of teachers who can move up the scale”, but would be an “inappropriate” method in smaller schools.

She said union members would be balloted by mid May.