Angry TAFE teachers and students attended a rally today to protest the massive cuts to TAFE vocational education and training in the Victorian Budget handed down on May 1, 2012. The implications of massive defunding is a softening up of the public TAFE institutes for privatisation. The budget cuts will mean substantial redundancies of teachers, especially in smaller regional TAFE institutes, a major increase in course fees, and loss of subsidiary student services such as study skills assistance, library services and counselling.
On Thursday 6th May the AEU the public school teacher union backed down on a NAPLAN boycott in the face of an anti-worker attack from the Federal ALP led by Julia Guillard. The AEU responding to grassroots teacher anger had called a boycott of the NAPLAN to prevent the publication of “League Tables” of schools based on the new Federal “MySchools” Website. Teachers across the country had been threatened with disciplinary action and individual fines of up to $6600 as Guillard gleefully used anti-worker laws to bully teachers into submission.
Two campaigns coincided in the rally held on Tuesday in Lygon Street outside Trades Hall - opposition to legislative changes threatening to water down work safety laws in Victoria, and demands for pay equity for women.