Recruitment and Selection Policy still being negotiated17-05-2011
AEU members will be as surprised as the AEU negotiating team were to read in yesterday's Advertiser that agreement on the draft DECS Recruitment and Selection Policy is a fait accompli.
This type of inaccurate reporting of the issue is simply not helpful in the final stages of negotiations between the AEU and DECS.
Whilst the AEU concurs with the Minister's comments about the need for increased permanent teacher employment, it is timely to remember that the AEU's arguments for permanency conversions during Arbitration were opposed by the Government.
In its Decision, the Industrial Commission determined that DECS and the AEU needed to address this area as a matter of priority.
It is essential that there is more job security in the education system, however, there are also base principles which must be adhered to ensure a fair, equitable placement process for all members.
In mid-March DECS issued the Draft Teacher Recruitment and Selection Policy for consultation with the school sector. During this phase, the AEU distributed an Issues Paper to seek feedback from members.
DECS and the AEU have been in regular, intensive discussions about the improvements needed in any new Policy.
The AEU's position has been based on principles endorsed by Branch Council on 26 March. These principles include:
- DECS is the deliverer of public education and hence owes obligations for equitable schooling opportunities to all students.
- Schools need to be staffed in ways that guarantee a range of teacher skills, experience and knowledge in all sites.
- The union needs to negotiate on the basis of fact and therefore DECS must provide clear modeling and data that delineate current and projected staffing trends together with transparent explanations as to how such data has been collected. Although much of this data has been provided it has not addressed all of our key concerns.
The AEU is aware of how important a fair and transparent Recruitment and Selection Policy is to the teaching service.
We are committed to members having the opportunity to provide feedback on the final Draft Policy before it is tabled at the AEU Branch Council on 28 May.
So how will this occur?
- Negotiations between the AEU and DECS are nearing completion on the Draft Policy.
- Branch Executive will develop a position whether the Draft Policy is ready for distribution to the AEU membership for feedback.
- AEU members are encouraged to attend Area Meetings as the Draft Policy will be a key agenda item.
- AEU Branch Council Delegates have been asked to consult with members as to whether a formal membership ballot should be conducted or whether members' views are collected by alternative means.
- AEU Branch Council will make the final decision with respect to agreement and implementation of any new Policy.
Report from Branch Executive
On 9 May, Branch Executive met to review the DECS Draft Recruitment and Selection Policy in line with the Branch Council principles outlined above.
At this point, it became clear that the Draft Policy still did not provide the broad AEU membership with the necessary employment protection and job security. This meeting resolved as follows:
That Executive determines that the DECS Draft Teacher Recruitment and Selection Policy and Procedures 2011 do not yet meet the requirements of the Branch Council resolution dated 26 March 2011.
Further that the AEU is instructed to pursue further negotiations with DECS on the following matters:
- a placement process for teachers in country and hard to staff schools based on Country Incentives Zones, Index of Disadvantage categories, and/or Placement Points prior to advertisement of positions;
- placement process for country to country transfers;
- a centrally managed voluntary transfer process in consultation with local sites;
- improved Position Tenure Review process;
- a fair transparent local selection process;
- improved targets for permanency;
- improved part-time provisions;
- agreed criteria for contract to permanent conversions and a grievance process;
- mechanism for identifying monitoring and enforcing all ongoing positions;
- a mechanism for stating the terms of temporary positions for contract positions.
Negotiations are continuing with DECS on a daily basis to finalise the Draft Policy for distribution and further consultation with members prior to Branch Council on 28 May.
Recruitment and selection of teachers is a critically important issue for our union and we must take the time to ensure that this Policy is the fairest and best it can be.