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John Passant

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Will Labor jail our teachers?

Teachers have banned national numeracy and literacy tests.

The results from these tests will become league tables and reinforce the cycle of lower funding for schools with students from less well off backgrounds.

Rather than addressing problems the tests will reinforce them.

The teachers’ ban is about protecting students.

However under Labor’s industrial relations laws such action is unlawful.  Indeed Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard has said she would rule nothing out in dealing with the boycott.

This means that teachers could be docked pay for the action and that officials and the union could be fined.

Under this Labor Government, strikes and other industrial action are illegal except during a limited bargaining period over a new collective agreement. 

This is a restriction of our fundamental human right to withhold our labour.

The teachers’ dispute highlights the narrow scope for industrial action on a whole range of issues which affect workers and their workplace but which are not within the bargaining period.

The teachers’ union could call Gillard’s bluff.  Teachers have great support among the community and could mount a real grass roots campaign against Labor’s attacks on education.

They could smash Labor’s penal powers.

It is not just these tests.  A recent study shows that Commonwealth funding goes disproportionately to private schools over public schools. 

This campaign against tests has the potential to broaden out to demand more money for schools and more pay for teachers.

But the immediate task is to boycott the tests and stop Gillard’s assault on students.

Let teachers proclaim now that they will strike if anyone is docked pay and that they will refuse to pay any fines.

Challenge Gillard and the rest of the rotten Labor government to jail them all.

And shouldn’t all those recent rotten pay deals be swept away with a demand for ten percent a year – much less than the going rate for bank bonuses?

Teachers could call on other unions to support them by asking them to also ban anything to do with the tests, for example their printing, distribution and collection.

Teachers could ask other unions to join the campaign to smash the Labor Party’s rotten industrial straight jacket and win the right to strike back from the prisons of the bosses. 

The current anti-worker workplace laws have hit building unions particularly badly.  Teachers could link up with them in a joint campaign against the unfair Fair Work Australia laws.

And in doing all of this teachers will be defending not only young students but starting a real industrial relations and education  revolution.



Pingback from En Passant » Will Labor jail our teachers? | antarctica News Station
Time January 20, 2010 at 4:53 pm

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Comment from Janet Baker
Time January 20, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Praise the Lord! God bless the people of Massachusetts! Thank you! Thank you! We will stop the socialism of America!

Comment from Chav
Time January 21, 2010 at 9:49 am

That’s funny Janet, I thought Obama was the ‘new Hitler’..?