We asked you to take a stand and – woah – did you hear us!
The AEU’s VGSA Week of Action in May was an enormous success, with thousands of members in schools across the state wearing red and uniting with their sub-branch to send a clear message to the Victorian government that they want an enterprise agreement that delivers reduced workloads, smaller class sizes and a liveable wage for education support staff.
More than a hundred schools took part, sharing photos of their sub-branch on social media using the hashtags #SupportSchoolStaff and #ItsAboutTime. They gathered on ovals, in staffrooms, libraries and playgrounds to create a powerful statement that AEU members are serious about campaigning for a better deal.
The overwhelming response, amid the hectic schedule of a school week, showed the depth of feeling among AEU members about the impact of excessive workloads on their personal and professional lives. When the stakes are high, school staff know how to act quickly, support their colleagues, band together – and have some fun along the way!
With the current Victorian Government Schools Agreement (VGSA) having expired at the end of April, the Week of Action was the first major step in the union’s public campaign for better pay and conditions for school staff.
The action coincided with the release of the AEU’s State of our Schools survey – attracting almost 11,000 responses – which showed that, on average, teachers are working 15 hours of overtime every week and principals are working almost 60 hours a week. Almost half of Victoria’s public school teachers are regularly thinking of leaving the profession, with the vast majority saying that reduced workloads would be the best way of retaining teachers in the system.
AEU members proved they are just getting started when it comes to their willingness to fight for a Schools Agreement that properly supports them to do the work they love.