Member Bulletin Number 4 2018

In this bulletin:

  • Approval of teacher EA and backpay
  • NAPLAN online debacle
  • Branch elections nominations closing soon
  • Proposed membership fee structure for 2019

Approval of teacher EA and backpay
The new salaries agreement for teachers was lodged by the OCPE with the Fair Work Commission (FWC) on 10 July. The union office is receiving many queries about when the agreement will be approved and the salary increases and backpay applied.

Unfortunately, we cannot predict when the agreement will be approved as this process is completely out of the hands of the AEU and the OCPE. The FWC is responsible for ensuring the agreement complies with the Fair Work Act and we understand that there is a large backlog of agreements awaiting approval by the FWC. Given that the FWC has not contacted the employer or the AEU to raise any concerns or objections to date, we are hopeful that the teachers’ agreement will be relatively straightforward.

However, we expect that approval will take – at a minimum – at least another month, and quite possibly longer. The silver lining is that the longer the agreement takes to approve, the larger will be the back payment to members, a 2.5% increase dating back to October 2017 for those employed since then.

Backpay will only be provided to those employees who are employed at the time the new agreement becomes operational (seven days after it is approved by the FWC).

NAPLAN online debacle
A major topic of discussion this week has been ACARA’s decision to delay the release of NAPLAN results due to concerns over discrepancies between the results of students who sat the online and paper versions of the test.

As NAPLAN is currently being trialled in an online format, about one fifth of students across Australia who sat the test this year did so online. The NT did not take part in the online trials, however the DoE Chief Executive, Vicki Baylis, has informed the AEU NT that plans are underway for approximately 45 schools to offer the test in an online format next year.

The AEU has led the opposition to NAPLAN moving to an online format, calling instead for a comprehensive review of the national testing regime. All branches of our union are unanimous on that front, and numerous parents’ organisations including NT COGSO support our position.

The debacle this week underscores why we were right to take the position we did. The AEU has called on federal education minister Simon Birmingham to take responsibility and provide a clear explanation about the problems that delayed the release of results.

Our Branch leadership will engage the NT Education Minister and Chief Executive in discussion in coming days regarding the proposal for NT schools to participate in an online trial.

Branch Executive elections – nominations closing soon
Nominations are currently open for numerous positions on the AEU NT Branch Executive. Nominations close at 4.30pm on Tuesday 21 August 2018. The following positions are up for election:

  • Branch President
  • Vice-President (General Division)
  • Vice-President (TAFE Division)
  • Treasurer
  • Women’s Officer
  • Executive Councillor representing Indigenous teachers and Indigenous education workers
  • Executive Councillor (Katherine)

The Branch Executive is the AEU NT’s governing body when the annual Branch Conference is not in session. It meets at least six times per year and manages the union’s finances, endorses policies and actions, and guides the actions of the union between Branch Conferences.

More information on the positions, how to nominate and to download a nomination form is available here.

Proposed membership fee structure for 2019
Our Branch Executive and annual Conference both recently endorsed a proposal to make some changes to categories of membership and the calculation of membership fees from the beginning of 2019. For the vast majority of members – teachers and VET lecturers – there will be no change. Your fees will continue to be pegged at 0.88% of your gross annual salary.

These are minor changes that are not designed to increase union revenue, but rather to: (1) reduce the number of membership categories to make it easier administratively to collect and adjust membership fees; and (2) ensure that membership fees are set at a fair and reasonable level based on a member’s typical financial circumstances.

Before the Branch Executive gives final approval to any changes, the proposal is being circulated to members for feedback. You are welcome to contact the union office with any queries or concerns. The proposed fee structure is available here.

Further information