Attend CFPE meeting (Australia): “The crisis in public education, the betrayal of teachers’ unions and the need for independent rank-and-file committees”
The Committee for Public Education (CFPE) invites educators, students and workers in Australia and overseas to participate in an online meeting on Sunday, June 19 at 1 p.m. (AEDT).
The event, titled “The Crisis in Public Education, the Betrayal of Teachers’ Unions, and the Need for Independent Rank-and-File Committees,” will review the disaster that has unfolded in public schools and the accountability that the Australian Education Union carries for this. The discussion will also outline a political perspective, including the creation of grassroots committees, to fight for decent salaries and conditions for educators and for a well-resourced public education system accessible to all. Register now: https://bit.ly/3Q2MEBi
Public school teachers and education support staff have recently had several important experiences with teacher unions.
In Victoria, the Australian Education Union (AEU) only narrowly succeeded last month in pushing through a regressive four-year industrial deal. The agreement reached between the union and the state Labor government involved an increase in the nominal annual wage of less than 2%, which represents a substantial reduction in real wages. Union officials secured a majority vote in favor of the deal by mounting a determined campaign of misinformation and social media censorship. Despite this, record opposition was registered in the shop steward meetings and the final general ballot, with 38-39% “no” votes. This opposition, which will only intensify as the cost of living crisis deepens in the coming period, provides an important foundation for building a political movement in defense of educator wages and conditions. and the public education system.
This movement must be developed at the national and international level. The real Victorian school wage cut will be used by the recently elected federal Labor government as a precedent. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his colleagues are determined to burden the working class with its drive to reduce debts and growing deficits through austerity measures.
The capitulation of the Victorian AEU follows a similar process in South Australia two years ago, when an industrial agreement involving real wage cuts and the maintenance of existing poor conditions was only narrowly ratified by 54% , 46% of educators voting against.
Today in New South Wales, public school workers face the threat of yet another betrayal of the union agreement. This was made clear by the NSW Teachers Federation’s decision to issue Premier Dominic Perrottet’s Liberal state government with a no-strike pledge. This followed two 24-hour strikes, in May and December, the first such industrial actions in New South Wales for a decade. These limited actions were twice followed by promises not to strike, based on cowardly “good faith” appeals to the right-wing Perrottet government. By excluding industrial action, the NSW Teachers Federation bureaucracy was consciously isolating teachers, including from their colleagues in the Catholic sector who also recently went on strike, and blocking a united struggle from other public sector workers facing attacks similar, including civil servants, nurses and health workers and railway workers.
The teachers’ unions’ collaboration with the state government’s attacks on the public education system and on teachers’ salaries and conditions is consistent with their critical role in enforcing the reopening of schools at the start of year, despite the upsurge in COVID-19 infections. The entire political establishment, Labor and Liberal, worked to sabotage Australia’s zero COVID situation towards the end of 2021, heeding the demands of big business and finance capital for the rejection of all COVID-19 measures. public health that encroached on profits. Then Prime Minister Scott Morrison openly explained that schools must be reopened, regardless of infection rates, so companies can force workers back to their workplaces. Teachers’ unions answered the call, preventing any opposition from emerging as schools became sites of super-spreading, threatening hundreds of thousands of children and school workers with Long COVID and other ill effects about health.
The CFPE public assembly will analyze these developments and explain the basis of our call for the formation of rank-and-file committees. Not a single step forward can be taken within the confines of the teachers’ unions. Comprising a highly paid upper-middle-class layer, the lucrative privileges of the union bureaucracy derive from its collaboration with federal and state governments, against the interests of ordinary teachers and school workers. It is necessary to build a network of rank-and-file committees, independent of the unions, democratically organized and led by trusted educators and school workers, to advance the political and industrial struggle needed for the public education system.
The CFPE rejects the claims of governments, unions, the media and all those who defend capitalism that there is “no money”. There are resources, all of which are produced by the working class, but they are in the hands of the corporate and financial elite. We call for the nationalization of banks, mining companies and big business under democratic workers’ control to serve the pressing social needs of the majority, not the profits of the wealthy few. It means a fight for a socialist perspective.
The CFPE public meeting will provide a forum in which uncensored discussions, questions and experiences from different schools and communities can be raised. The meeting will also include a guest speaker from the United States, who will report on the crisis in public education there and the significant industrial action recently taken by educators in different states to defend their interests and those of their students.
Register in advance and promote the meeting to educators, students, colleagues and friends!