“What do we want? Safe sites!” chanted 7000 workers marching to state parliament on September 1. The rally demanded best practice national occupational health and safety (OHS) laws.
Following an extended industrial campaign by the Victorian branch of the Australian Education Union for better wages and conditions including smaller class sizes, Victorian Premier John Brumby announced on May 5 that an agreement had been reached with the union. The deal, which was later ratified by union members, awarded vastly different pay rates to different groups of teachers and failed to address the key issues raised in the teachers campaign. The following is a response by AEU member and Teachers Alliance supporter Peter Curtis.
Teachers around the country are in protracted disputes over wages and conditions with their ALP government bosses. Federal education minister Julia Gillard has come out in opposition to teachers’ unions’ proposal to place bans on administrating national literacy and numeracy testing in pursuit of claims for real wage increases and to demand an improvement of working conditions.
The ALP deserves to be re-badged the “Anti-Labour Party” as historian Humphrey McQueen suggests, and the ALP’s public dressing down and forced resignation of Victorian Electrical Trade Union (ETU) secretary Dean Mighell reinforces this view.