The Marshall Liberal Government has welcomed a decision by the Australian Education Union’s state executive to endorse unanimously the Government’s Enterprise Agreement offer for teachers, principals and preschool directors to go to a ballot of its members, in a move that is hoped will resolve the long-running pay dispute.
Treasurer Rob Lucas said it was a welcome and positive step that all parties (the Government, AEU and the Public Service Association) had agreed that the upcoming conciliation hearing in the SA Employment Tribunal not proceed.
The offer – which covers the period 2018-19 to 2022-23 – supports the state’s ambition to be the nation’s leader in education by building and retaining an expert teaching workforce.
“We welcome the fact the AEU executive has voted unanimously to endorse the Government’s revised enterprise agreement offer to go to a ballot of its members,” Mr Lucas said.
“This is a positive step forward and the Government is hopeful it will lead to a sensible resolution of our Enterprise Bargaining negotiations, which gives exceptionally fair and reasonable salary increases and also provides greater assistance and support to teachers in the classroom.
“The AEU’s request to suspend further hearings in the SA Employment Tribunal is a further indication of the positive progress the parties have made in negotiations.
“We urge members to support the offer.”
The Government has increased its offer of a ‘complexity allowance’ for schools by $3m per annum from $12m to $15m. Every school will receive funding, which will be used to assist teachers in managing their workload relating to students with complex needs, for example, by engaging additional teachers or support staff and to meet the cost of expert assistance. On average, schools will get $29,469 per year (and up to $158,914 per year), with individual schools to decide how their funding is spent.
The offer also includes:
- Enhanced country incentives to attract and retain teachers in country schools, including increasing the incentive from 5 years up to 8 years in areas that are difficult to staff;
- More certainty for part-time teachers around timetabling and protection for seconded teachers around hours of duty, time-off in lieu and travel;
- A reduction in face-to-face teaching time for teachers in standalone preschools;
- A reduction in face-to-face teaching time for principals;
- Extra funds for schools with classes with students who have special needs;
- New positions for highly-accomplished and lead teachers;
- A new level 6 classification for Aboriginal Education Workers
Salary increases of 2.35% per annum for teachers and 3.35% for Principals and Preschool Directors, with pay increases up until May 2022.
The Government’s original offer in June this year included 1.0% of the first 2.35% pay rise for teachers backdated to October 2018. This revised offer increases the amount of the first pay rise which is backdated to October 2018 to 1.35%.
In exchange, there will be greater flexibility in human resource management and some more sensible rules about the system of allowances for teachers in country schools.
The AEU will conduct a ballot of its members by the end of next week. If the offer is supported, the next step will be to conduct a ballot of all of the state’s 28,000 teachers, principals and support staff in the first week of Term 1, 2020. If employees vote in favour of the offer, then the agreement will be formalised.