Members of the Teachers and Education Support Staff Alliance (TESA) have been re-elected to the state-wide council of the Victorian branch of the Australian Education Union (AEU) in elections that took place in October.
TESA also contested the four senior officer positions: branch president, branch deputy president, branch secretary and branch deputy secretary.
TESA members ran on a platform that included: an end to contracts; enforceable state-wide conditions that will decrease staff workload; an end to test-driven data teaching; and an increase to public school funding. All these are key issues that will be raised as part of the upcoming Enterprise Bargaining Agreement campaign.
Members of TESA were heartened by the election result. Mary Merkenich, a secondary school teacher and long-time member of TESA told Green Left Weekly, “The votes that candidates received in the AEU elections showed very strong support for alternative policies and strategy. TESA candidates got either the highest number of votes or second highest out of several candidates in each sector they contested for the Victorian AEU Branch Council. In the senior officer contest, most TESA candidates received about half of the vote that the current officials got.”
Lucy Honan, a secondary school teacher explained to GLW why she stood for election: “I ran for council to stand up to the competitive schools agenda. We need rank-and-file resistance to test score obsessed principals and politicians who prefer to scapegoat teachers and squeeze families rather than fund public education adequately. The current union leadership is not leading this fight, so we need to get organised ourselves.”
Several other progressive teachers and support staff were also elected to council positions for the first time. TESA members hope to work closely with these councillors to campaign for a fighting, activist-based union.
[If you would like to get involved or contact TESA email firstname.lastname@example.org.]