THE Australian Education Union (AEU) is warning it will ramp up its campaign for better pay and conditions if negotiations with the Victorian government continue to lag.
AEU Bendigo organiser Michael Claven welcomed new Victorian premier Denis Napthine’s decision to take performance pay off the negotiating table, but said the government must make more concessions to resolve the dispute.
He said the union was still looking for a 4.2 per cent pay rise over the next three years, which will bring the Victorian teaching workforce into line with their New South Wales counterparts.
“We think it’s reasonable,” he said.
“It takes us just above New South Wales, which is important because along the Murray River staff are being drawn away from government schools.
“It is also in line with pay rises to Victorian nurses and police.”
Mr Claven said the AEU branch council would meet in Melbourne on Friday to discuss the next stage of the campaign if the dispute was not resolved.
He said further measures might include a series of rolling half-day strikes and a political campaign targeting Coalition members in marginal seats across Victoria.
“If we cannot achieve a resolution, the campaign will escalate, so it’s in everyone’s interest, especially the government’s, to resolve the dispute,” he said.
“We’re not backing down one iota.
“The removal of performance pay is a positive first step but we’re in it for the long haul.”
Mr Claven said Mr Napthine’s new stance on performance pay showed he was keen to resolve the dispute as soon as possible.
“Obviously he has to differentiate himself because if he had continued along the same path he could see nothing would be achieved,” he said.