Ha ha; at least, that’s one of the quips we made about ourselves on Wednesday. Cos we were striking, and I’m sure a lot of people thought that was either wrong of us (be thankful you have a job, shut up about the crappy pay and conditions), or that we would tear down our darling Premier’s office in a re-enactment of Russia, 1917.
Anyway, I striked (struck? maybe just went on strike). I’ve done this once before, but that was a whole union ‘we hate the new IR laws’ thing. This time, it was me and several thousand teachers, all sitting together in Vodafone Arena, most wearing red (I cringe a bit to think why the AEU chose red…). It was a mostly interesting meeting – our president is not the world’s greatest speaker, although apparently she has improved! Some people decided to use it for some public political grandstanding – and before you start laughing, and pointing out that union meeting for heaven’s sake, this grandstanding was completely irrelevant to the topic of discussion and so was not appreciated by many people at all (someone told me the dude was actually standing for election for one of the very minor parties).
Eventually, we managed to vote almost unanimously in favour of striking again next Feb if the govt doesn’t hurry up and negotiate properly (we’ve been at this since March), and then rolling 4 hour strikes after that, if necessary… I really don’t want to do that, so I hope both sides compromise with regard to pay and we can get on with, you know, developing the leaders of the next 10 to 20 years.
The one thing that’s got me riled about the whole thing is the government’s attitude that, like the police and nurses, we have to create some sort of productivity outcomes, or something like that. And from us, they seem (at least, as the union portrays it, and of course it might be skewed) to expect $$ savings. Since when was education meant to be profitable?? Or even cheap?? Education should be massively expensive – for the government. Victoria already has the best Yr12 retention rates, and on average we meet or exceed national benchmarks for readin’ & writin’ & numberin’, so what more can they ask??Â Anyway… is annoying. When we’re the lowest paid teachers in the country….