Victoria’s principals, teachers and support staff have won a lengthy dispute with their state government, it has been announced.
The four-year deal, valued at $2.2bn, will provide 70,000 of the state’s principals with a 4% annual pay rise, while teachers and support staff will receive a 3.25% increase.
The Australian Education Union’s (AEU) Victoria branch had been pushing for a 21% pay rise, but its branch secretary, Meredith Peace, said the deal was “fair and reasonable”.
“Negotiations have been on foot for twelve months and school staff were prepared to take stop work action to make sure ever increasing workloads were addressed,” Peace said in a statement this afternoon.
“Teachers are working on average 53 hours a week and principals 60 hours a week.”
Peace said that when teachers are expected to work unrealistic hours it is ultimately students who miss out on the support they need in the classroom.
“We are pleased we have been able to reach an agreement that addresses this growing crisis,” she said.
“We have been able to get a deal that will see our members recognised for the contribution they make to children’s lives every day.”
Peace said teachers will now get four additional days every year over the life of the agreement to focus on their core work of teaching and learning – to do planning, preparation, assessment, collaboration and curriculum development.
Victoria’s Education Minister, James Merlino, said the deal will increase a teacher's graduate salary from $65,000 to $67,000. In February the union's branch council voted to take steps towards industrial action.
The previous enterprise bargaining agreement expired on October 31.
The Victorian Principals Association has been contacted for comment.