ACT teachers get workable deal
The ACT Education Union has agreed to a revised pay deal for Canberra public school teachers, after more than a year of tough negotiations.
The Union appears to have accepted a deal that includes hiring more school physiologists and teacher assistants.
It was the third wage deal offered by the ACT Government, and includes a 12.6 per cent pay rise over four years, coupled with a large cut to the administrative load of teachers.
The new agreement will also include back pay for teachers, after it was voted on by the union's 3,000 members.
The Government has pledged to provide $7 million to help teachers tackle administrative work, while an extra $900,000 will go to employing four school psychologists.
Negotiators expect more than half of all ACT teachers will be earning at least $100,000 by the end of the agreement, which would elevate ACT teachers’ salaries to the third highest in Australia.
ACT Education Union secretary Glenn Fowler says it took time for the Government to see sense.
“We had a first offer that was borderline insulting,” he told ABC reporters.
“The second offer was significantly short still and we also had to face the removal of $8 million of back pay, which was an act of unnecessary hostility.
“There is an admission by the Government that excessive workload has become a problem and to address that we have some very strong words in the agreement.
“[There will be] almost 60 full-time school assistance coming into schools to do the non-teacher work that teachers should have never been doing.
“Teachers have been doing too much non-teacher work and it's been distracting them from what they really want to do.
“We have worked out that every school will have 500 to 900 hours in a school year of work dedicated to these people and that is work that won't be done by teachers.”
ACT Education Minister Joy Burch – who faced down a motion of no confidence during union negotiations – said the tumultuous road had ended with a good deal.
“We believe this is a very good offer that provides recognition for the valuable work our teachers do,” she told reporters.
“With the further investments in administrative support, we believe this deal will address the key concerns raised by the AEU. We are pleased the AEU agrees in principle and is supportive of this deal.
“I have always valued our public schools and the teachers in them.
“EBA negotiations can be tough, they can be hard-fought on both sides. This should come as no surprise to anybody who has ever been involved with them.”