For everyone From your branch secretary: A sea of red in week of action

  • By Erin Aulich
  • This article was published more than 2 years ago.
  • 4 Jul 2021
Erin Aulich, Secretary, AEU Victorian branch

We could not be prouder of our members right now. We put out a call, asking schools members to ‘wear red’ as part of our VGSA Week of Action – and you responded en masse! The hundreds of images and creative ideas on display across social media channels over the past few weeks have been so inspiring. We’ve also enjoyed a bumper month of recruitment as a result of your brilliant efforts.

A huge thank you to every member who got involved. It was a simple but incredibly effective way to kick-start our campaign for better working conditions – pushing for an agreement that puts a handbrake on onerous workloads and achieves a well-deserved pay increase for teachers, principals and education support staff. 

The campaign has only just begun. You can still get involved. Check out the great photos and follow the action on social media using the hashtags #itsabouttime and #supportschoolstaff.

From here, we’re heading out and about (when not in lockdown), visiting regional meetings and sub-branches across the state for a combination of face-to-face, online and hybrid meetings. 

We all know there’s strength in numbers, so we’ll be working to maximise recruitment by inviting non-members to attend our regional meetings and encouraging them to join the AEU. You can help by making sure you’re asking all CRTs, new graduates, as well as non-members in your workplace to come along. And remember – AEU membership is free for students.

The Wear it Red campaign highlights the collective power of our 50,000 members across the state.

The Wear it Red campaign highlights the collective power of our close to 50,000 members across the state. We want to surpass that number with your help. Coming together in such a visual way sends a powerful message to the minister and to the department. It’s a show of strength that empowers us while we negotiate a new Schools Agreement on your behalf.

A big shout out to all the reps who used the week to highlight union wins and to host activities that brought members together to have a bit of fun. Morning teas were a big feature, complete with red-coloured treats, and it was great to see social media light up. Well done, too, to members who secured visits with their local MPs.

We also held a state-wide Town Hall meeting online during the week of action, with hundreds of members in attendance, 130 signing the pledge to get more involved in campaigning, and 33 further members registering to join their local campaign hub.

It’s so important that we continue to come together to highlight workload challenges. If you’re keen to take action and support the campaign to improve pay and conditions for school staff, sign up at: aeuvictoria.typeform.com/to/V1kIb2KJ.

The week of action wrapped on Mother’s Day in May with a push on Twitter under the hashtag #supportschoolstaff, involving members posting photos of themselves working into the evening, highlighting just how much work you consistently do in your own time, after school and on weekends.

It’s a positive sign that we’ve recruited new members, and we need to keep this momentum going. Regional meetings are a great way to access the most up-to-date information, and you’ll be able to hear more about our new campaign hubs too.

We want to continue building a collective online and workplace presence that extends beyond your school. We need to reach parents and the broader community. We need to reach the state government and our local MPs, and drive home the message that excessive workloads are bad for staff, bad for students and unhealthy for the state of the profession as a whole.

It’s about time the government recognised the impact of workload pressures, and showed that they support school staff through a new and improved VGSA that addresses this issue. In the meantime, let’s continue to create a sea of red in our workplaces and online. I look forward to seeing you at an AEU meeting in your region soon.

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