The Guardian June 28, 2000

Queensland teachers' no trade-off deal

Members of the Queensland Teachers' Union (QTU) will vote next month on 
a new enterprise bargaining offer from the Beattie Government which 
included employing 800 extra teachers and having wages arbitrated. The 
union's executive has recommended to teachers that they accept the offer 
which may end a long-running dispute with the Government.

QTU President Julie-Ann McCullough said the new offer was a major 
breakthrough in negotiations and, if accepted, would improve working and 
learning conditions in the State's public schools. She noted that the deal 
would be the first enterprise agreement in Queensland where resource 
improvements had been secured instead of employees trading off conditions.

"This would also be the first time in ten years that a government has 
employed extra teachers to reduce class sizes", Ms McCullough said. "We 
have secured a real increase in teachers, not an illusory increase like 
we've seen announced by governments in the past.

"The new teachers would be in addition to the number needed for increased 
enrolments, would reduce class sizes and would address student behaviour 
issues and the education of students with special needs."

The 800 teachers would start being placed in schools this year and would be 
fully phased in by the end of 2003.

The enterprise bargaining breakthrough follows a 12 month campaign by 
teachers for increased school funding and extra resources in key areas. The 
campaign came to a head on June 14 when teachers held a 24 hour stoppage to 
protest at the Government's refusal to address major issues.

The Government has refused to budge on its three percent wage offer but the 
QTU intends to pursue a proper pay increase through the Industrial 
Relations Commission.

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