IRC ends teachers' bargaining period



IRC ends teachers' bargaining period

By Melanie Sjoberg

ADELAIDE — After taking several weeks to reach a decision, the state Industrial Relations Commission has granted the South Australian government's request to end the bargaining period for wage negotiations between the Australian Education Union and the education department.

The AEU has attempted to reach an agreement with the government since last July and had proposed several modifications to its original enterprise bargaining claim.

The initial government offer of a 13% salary increase over three years and $28 million in additional staff for schools was not accepted by AEU members. The members have campaigned consistently for more funding for public education, as well as wage increases.

AEU state president Janet Giles described the IRC's decision as a serious blow because it will lock the union into further conciliation and potential arbitration, and prevent the union taking legal industrial action to support its claim.

The government is moving towards massive staff cuts. In late April a school management model was launched which is similar to Victoria's. The result in Victoria was a devastating decline in teaching jobs.

On May 5, the SA government announced the slashing of 90 teaching staff from the curriculum unit.