State Labor MPs banned from visiting public schools as industrial action escalates

Public school staff will ban Victorian State Labor MPs from visiting campuses as part of three additional industrial bans by ES, teachers, and principals commencing today.

The ongoing industrial action includes new bans on NAPLAN Online School Readiness Testing and education support staff undertaking duties during their unpaid lunch break.

These actions are designed to directly impact the state government and the Department of Education and Training, and highlight the excessive workloads and hours of unpaid work being done by public school teachers, principals and education support staff.

“The Andrews Labor Government has failed to properly address our concerns about excessive workloads and salaries that reflect the important work of school staff”, AEU Victorian Branch president, Meredith Peace said.

In relation to banning state Labor MPs from visiting school campuses, Ms Peace said that there is a significant amount of work involved for teachers, principals, and education support staff to prepare for these visits, which is often disregarded by the Department and politicians.

“These visits disrupt scheduled student learning, and create workload for principals and other staff, whilst politicians get free media they can use to promote themselves in their electorate. 

“If the ban is not heeded and state Labor MPs visit schools, our members will have no choice but to take local stopwork action and protest. 

These new bans will add to the existing bans on one hour of meetings per week, responding to DET emails, and implementing the updated Framework for Improving Student Outcomes.

Right now, Victorian public teachers work an additional 15 unpaid hours per week on average. Principals regularly work on average 60-hour weeks and education support staff report working second and third jobs just to make ends meet.

“Public school teachers, principals and education support staff are tired of working unpaid hours to make up for the shortfall in public school funding by the State Government.”

“Victorian public school staff are dedicated to supporting their students and their wellbeing, but they have had enough.

The Union’s message to Premier Daniel Andrews and Education Minister James Merlino is loud and clear – they must invest in additional teachers and support staff, address excessive workloads of school staff, and deliver salaries that respect the important work they do. 

"Until our concerns are addressed by the Andrews Labor Government, union members will continue to undertake industrial action. 

9 November 2021

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