Friday, June 08, 2012

More whining teachers

They're Prima Donnas worldwide.  Check Wisconsin, NYC  and Britain, for instance

TEACHERS have rejected a pay deal from the Queensland Government and are planning to rally outside State Parliament in a fortnight.

The Queensland Teachers Union issued a newsflash yesterday telling its members they had rejected an enterprise bargaining package, which included a 2.7 per cent pay rise per annum over the next three years.

The union has raised concerns over what the Department of Education, Training and Employment "requires" to be removed from its current certified agreement as part of the enterprise bargaining offer.

Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said classroom teachers would earn up to $90,238 a year, graduate teachers up to $61,636 a year and principals up to $147,981 a year under the agreement.

Graduate teachers would be kept at the same classification for three years before being eligible to access annual increments.

The QTU warns pay progression "would require certification by principals of teachers' satisfactory conduct, diligence and efficiency rather than increments being held by exception as is currently the case".

Mr Langbroek said: "The salary increase of 2.7 per cent a year promises an increase in real wages with the annual national inflation rate currently just 1.6 per cent (CPI year to march quarter 2012).

"It is a fair offer in the current economic climate, particularly given the job security that teachers enjoy."

But the QTU has warned beginning teachers would lose more than $6000 over the life of the agreement, while "items" like class sizes they had fought for would be removed and "considered matters of policy to be determined by the department".

"Examples of items suggested by the department which are better determined by policy are: class sizes; remote area incentive scheme ... workload management and work/life balance; job security; conversion to permanency of temporary teachers ... policy can be changed at any time by the government and department without consultation with teachers and principals.

"These issues have been included in agreements over the past 18 years as a protection against unilateral change by government or department. The entitlements won over six EB campaigns and more now become uncertain."

The QTU newsflash states it will be seeking a permit for an after-school rally outside Parliament on June 19 or 20.


Dumb teachers

ABOUT one in 10 high school graduates who took up teaching courses this year had an OP 17 or worse.  Overall Positions (OPs) range from one, the highest, to 25, the lowest, and are used to rank students wishing to be admitted for tertiary education.

The revelation follows concerns new teachers are graduating without basic numeracy and literacy skills and that universities are churning out too many graduates despite an oversupply of primary school teachers in Queensland.

A report this year revealed more than 12,000 primary school and 4000 other teachers were seeking work with Education Queensland in January.

In submissions to the Productivity Commission for a Schools Workforce report released in April, the Department of Education, Training and Employment said it had concerns about the imbalance of graduate primary school teachers, while the Queensland Catholic Education Commission said it was concerned the oversupply could lead to "a decrease in the quality of teaching graduates".

Figures released to The Courier-Mail by the Queensland College of Teachers revealed 11.8 per cent of high school graduates who entered teaching courses this year had an equivalent of an OP 17 or worse, and about 3.6 per cent had an OP of 20 to 25.

QCT director John Ryan said higher education institutions providing teacher education "must provide extra tuition to any student who needs support in literacy or numeracy".

But he said the Queensland school-leaver figures were better than those nationwide.  "As a percentage, Queensland had more students with higher entry scores and less people at the lower end of the scale than the rest of Australia entering teacher education.  "This data only applies to school-leavers and accounts for approximately 50 per cent of people entering teacher education."

The revelation came as recommendations to introduce a pre-registration test aimed at improving the quality of teaching graduates has been postponed for a second time because of concerns over cost.

Controversial recommendations made to the Bligh government aimed at lifting teacher standards, including enforcing a better alignment between demand and supply by limiting practicum (practical experience) places, are also in limbo, with their fate yet to be decided by the Newman Government.


Thousands of government jobs face axe in NSW

TEN thousand more jobs will be cut from the public service and speeding fines will rise by 12.5 per cent to help drag the NSW budget back into surplus from a forecast deficit of more than $800 million next financial year.

The announcements will feature in the O'Farrell government's second budget on Tuesday, which is expected to reveal the forecast deficit for 2012-13 is $826 million.

This is largely due to a collapse in forecast GST payments from the federal government of more than $5 billion since September.

The Treasurer, Mike Baird, is expected to announce 10,000 public sector jobs will be shed on top of the 5000 redundancies announced in September.

But while the earlier job cuts were pursued through voluntary redundancies, that approach is not guaranteed this time.

Instead the cuts, anticipated to save $2.2 billion over four years, will be achieved by imposing a "labour expense cap" to target an annual 1.2 per cent reduction in labour costs across all government agencies.

The government will recommit to exempting nurses, police and teachers in schools, but not TAFE teachers, from the cuts.

It will also give directors-general of departments the flexibility to achieve the targets through measures such as job redesign or by reviewing contractor levels.

The increase in speeding fines is expected to reap the government $140 million over four years and follows the announcement last week by the Roads Minister, Duncan Gay, of a sharp increase in fixed and mobile speed cameras.

There will also be a crackdown on public sector annual leave balances. The government is expected to say that the interim commission of audit conducted by the former Treasury official Kerry Schott revealed about 12 per cent of NSW public servants had more than 40 days' annual leave owing.

The announcement on Tuesday will require accrued annual leave to be cut to 40 days by June 30 next year, 35 days by 2014 and 30 days by 2015. It is forecast to save $220 million over four years.

The measures, along with a forecast improvement in economic conditions, will contribute to returning the budget to projected annual surpluses of more than $600 million from 2013-14, rising to more than $1 billion in 2015-16.

Mr Baird declined to comment on the detail of the budget but confirmed the government would "be taking a range of difficult and necessary decisions in our budget on June 12 to restore the state's finances so we can fund critical programs, services and infrastructure needs".

But the secretary of Unions NSW, Mark Lennon, said the extra cuts would hit frontline services despite the government's promise that they would be spared.

"These cuts will drown nurses, police and other frontline public sector workers in paperwork and stop them doing the jobs they were employed to do - serving the community," Mr Lennon said.

"Telling departments to find savings through reduction of labour costs will demoralise the workforce through job cuts and the growth of casual and labour-hire employment."

Mr Lennon said the latest economic data showed NSW was in the slow lane of the two-speed economy. "Cutting jobs and services will only make that worse."


Rapid action to control Bolshie unions in Queensland

QUEENSLAND has new Industrial Relations laws today after State Parliament rushed through changes to the Act, proposed just three weeks ago.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie hailed the changes as putting the government "one step closer to getting the State's finances back on track".

Unions had opposed some aspects of the amendments which they believed compromised the independence of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission and watered down its powers.

Among the changes are new powers for the Attorney-General to intervene and halt industrial action, and a requirement that Treasury officials brief the QIRC on the State's fiscal strategy and ability to fund public sector pay rises.

The government was keen to introduce the changes with 25 enterprise bargaining agreements to negotiate in the next 12 months, including teachers, ambulance officers, police and the core public service.

Mr Bleijie said the Bill reflected the Government's desire to have a balanced and responsible approach to public sector wages.

"The Act has been amended to require the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) to give consideration to the State's financial position when making wage decisions," Mr Bleijie said.

The changes will also allow an employer to put an enterprise bargaining offer directly to employees for their consideration.

The majority of the provisions in the Bill will apply upon assent from the Governor.

Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said the urgency in which the legislation was passed highlighted the Government’s twisted priorities.

“By passing this legislation the Government has wasted no time in returning to their favourite ideological pursuit, attacking the rights of workers,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“Instead of debating the apparently “urgent” Cost of Living Bill the Government has chosen to rush through legislation which attacks the rights of workers."

She said she shared unions' concerns about the impact of the laws on the independence of the QIRC, which amounted to a broken election promise.

In November last year Mr Newman stated: “The LNP has no plans to change the role of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.”


1 comment:

Paul said...

I think the teachers are just doing what that kind of Union does when Labor falls out of power. I'm waiting for the Nurses Union to do the same like they did in Victoria.