Schools CRT Network: Building our power

  • By Euan Morton
  • This article was published more than 9 months ago.
  • 20 Jul 2023

CRTs play a vital role in the public education system, now more so than ever. So, it was particularly galling to have a CRT agency email its teachers recently to tell them that it was fine for a school to split their 30-minute lunch break. 

This is simply incorrect. The Fair Work Act, Australian consumer law, Ministerial Order 1389, and the Educational Service (Teachers) Award all specify a minimum, continuous 30-minute break.

Member feedback about this advice led AEU vice president secondary, Marino D’Ortenzio, to write to the CRT agency on behalf of members. I’m happy to report that the agency’s immediate action was to email all their teachers and correct this information. 

For us to grow our power, and win further entitlements and improved pay, it is important to increase our AEU CRT membership. Next time you run into a fellow CRT, tell them about this win – and how we protect members’ rights by standing together and demanding our entitlements be delivered. If your colleague isn’t a member, ask them to join thousands of other casual teachers by becoming part of the AEU.

Entitlements for CRTs are specified in ministerial orders and department policies, but sometimes workplaces fail to implement these conditions. It often falls on individual CRTs to have the conversation with daily organisers or assistant principals to ensure their rights are met. And this can be hard to do. 

Fellow CRT organiser Bec Muratore and I ran a very successful union CRT PD during the most recent term break. The attendees ranged from first-year teachers through to those with more than 40 years of experience! The day centred on CRT rights and entitlements, before moving onto a workshop investigating how CRTs can build power for positive change in their working lives.

We plan to revisit some of this at our upcoming CRT Conference, Building Power, Strength and Unity, and extend the knowledge and techniques that CRT activists can use in the workplace. Save the date: Monday 26 June. In a gesture of solidarity, several regions have passed motions to financially subsidise the registration cost for local CRT members so they can attend the confence, so please attend your AEU regional meeting to find out more. 

I’d also like to call on sub-branch leaders and active AEU members to include CRTs in any and all union activities, be it a meeting, an action, or a morning tea! Together, we are stronger.

If you have any questions, queries or feedback, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your CRT organisers Euan Morton or Rebecca Muratore.

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