Saturday, September 13, 2008

Teacher Pay rise, EBA 3

Well, it's official. Teachers have voted no to EBA3. About 65% voted no. We will not be getting a lower than inflation pay rise.

It will be interesting to see how the public and the new state government (whoever it is) responds.

This was the same pay rise that the union said was great... yet the majority of union members thought otherwise. The union was not representing the wishes of its members and believed negative publicity would change the minds of teachers. I suggest that there are a few members of the executive (re: President and secretary) that are in trouble at the next union election.

Who was the union representing if not the teachers and administration of schools during this negotiation - personal self interest? I would join a union that represented my interests, the interests of my colleagues and clearly researched goals for public education.

Clearly the SSTUWA does not do this and is following its own agenda that is leading to poor morale and teaching standards. It is appalling. Some housekeeping is now necessary.

Reporting in the media (the ABC in particular, though the West and commercial stations are similarly guilty at times) keep stating a 16-21% pay rise. What they fail to mention is that this is 16-21% over three years and the final 2% is applied on the last day of the agreement. For a fair comparison we should take 16-21% subtract 2 and divide by three. Thus for the majority 4% per year which at best is 1% + inflation or perhaps 2.3% + inflation if you are at the lucky end.

This type of reporting by the media actively misleads the public into believing that a 16-21% (in one year) pay rise is being declined by teachers and administrators. Government employees or consultants employed by the government being trotted out in support of the government proposal is not supplying an independent or well researched viewpoint.

The current payrise and activism by teachers is intended to redress the lack of parity in teacher wage claims over the last 15 years, raise awareness over OBE issues and address the constant reduction in conditions in the vocation (a major cause of the current teacher shortage). A 1% + inflation payrise with reduced conditions does not correct this parity issue.

A better solution would have been to bump the entire payscales by say $10,000 this budget and again by $10,000 in three years time and only apply CPI to incremental scales for the life of the EBA. This would have established parity without misleading percentages and recreated an attractive profession to graduates by creating entry and exit points comparable to like 4 year university graduate careers.

Perhaps our new premier Mr Barnett will take note.

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