North East teachers heading to NSW

BORDER teachers were moving to the NSW system for better pay and conditions, Australian Education Union members claimed yesterday.

More 150 Victorian teachers rallied in Wodonga yesterday in front of the office of member for Benambra Bill Tilley.

The union’s North East president Kim O’Shea said pay for teachers south of the border was up to $3000 less than in NSW.

Another big bone of contention at the half-day strike was the Victorian government’s push to put teachers on performance-based pay. Union members discussed the issue with Mr Tilley.

He argued a system of performance pay existed by default in most work places but Ms O’Shea said teachers who excelled were already rewarded through promotion.

“It clearly hasn’t worked in other educational systems, it’s divisive and it doesn’t lend itself to teamwork,” Ms O’Shea said,

Mr Tilley said just because it hadn’t worked in other parts of the world didn’t mean it wouldn’t work in Australia.

“The argument is you don’t have to share your resources .... but you do that in every work place in Australia,” he said.

“You can’t say the promotion system is any different.”

But Wodonga drama teacher Tanya Harvey said that when she was involved in a trial of annual bonuses of up to $5000, she had struggled to prove her worth.

She had provided evidence of her work with photographs of student performances but did not receive any extra pay.

“It is very competitive. Performance pay isn’t for everyone,” Ms Harvey said.

“You’re told to work in a collegial way, in small teams, then you’re asked to compete with other people for performance pay.”

Art teacher at the Flying Fruit Fly Circus School, Therese King, said ruling conditions were pushing young Victorian teachers across the border.

“I know when it comes to making the choice they’ve looked at Victoria as a second-preference behind NSW in terms of the way it treats teachers,” Ms King said.

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