Monday, 31 July 2017
Sunday, 30 July 2017
Friday, 28 July 2017
Next week will mark 100 years since The Great Strike of 1917, when 100,000 workers around Australia walked off the job to protest changing workplace conditions.
The source of consternation was the introduction of time cards, designed to monitor worker productivity.
As part of the new workplace systems, foremen began watching over labourers, counting the time it took them to do certain tasks.
The strikers called it "Americanising work" or "Robotism". The managers, "scientific management".
Workers believed the new system was turning them into machines, de-skilling them and destroying their collective bonds.
Their concerns came to a head at 9am on August 2, 1917, when employees at the Randwick tram and Eveleigh railways workshops in Sydney called a strike.
With Australia still deeply involved in the war effort, it was a controversial time to launch large scale industrial action.
Families and communities were divided over whether to strike during wartime, but it didn't stop hundreds of thousands of people rallying in cities around the country.
Among the strikers was Ben Chifley, who later became prime minister — he lost his job as an engine driver because of his participation.
The strike was declared over a month later, without having achieved its objectives.
The movement had lost. In the end, the strike proved devastating for the labour movement, which was already split over conscription.
Yet the Great Strike of 1917 is an event that resonates today.
The dispute wasn't about pay, but the impact of technology and new forms of work organisation.
A worker from 1917 wouldn't have any trouble in understanding contemporary media discussions. We're dealing with a similar situation: new technology — automation, robots, algorithms and the gig economy — is changing the way we work.
The algorithm of 1917 was the time card. In 2017, this style of workplace management is on the rise again. It's called digital Taylorism, with software and other tools increasing the ability of management to break down, monitor and analyse performance.
As the modern workplace changes, workers may again decide they need to stand up for their rights and negotiate workable conditions with their employers. Time will tell if they're more successful than the strikers of 1917.
Review into regional, rural and remote education
The Department of Education and Training has released a discussion paper on regional, rural and remote education.
The review, led by Emeritus Professor John Halsey of Flinders University, will consider the key challenges and barriers that impact on students' learning outcomes, including transitions toward, and success regarding, further study, training and employment.
The AEU will make a submission to the review and engage with members in rural and regional areas in the coming weeks to ensure the voice of principals, teachers and ES are heard loudly and clearly both in terms of the challenges faced but also the key solutions.
Dear Ms Callister
Independent review into regional, rural and remote education
The timeline for submissions is very short. They are due on August 29th.
The blurb on their website says:
Country students will be the focus of an independent review into regional, rural and remote education. The review will consider the key challenges and barriers that impact on students’ learning outcomes, including transitions toward, and success regarding, further study, training and employment.
The review will be led by Emeritus Professor John Halsey of Flinders University.
The final report and recommendations will be provided to the Government by the end of 2017.
I have already sent my submission, I think it is essential that all stakeholders, especially state rural school teachers and principals participate in this inquiry. (They require responses to be made under pre-determined headings and don’t want those to exceed 350 words. Very limiting but their rules.)
I believe that it is important to have all voices heard. Because it has been a ‘well-kept secret’ can I ask you to ensure that the existence of the inquiry is made known to all school leaders and that it would be a perfect opportunity to inform the Commonwealth of important issues affecting rural and regional education in Victoria.
The next DET School update may be too late for the deadline. Can I suggest a direct memo out to Principals.
I have discussed this matter with the Office of the Federal Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Education Spokesperson and AEU and have their support in encouraging participation in the inquiry. I have also sent this email to my SEIL , Area Executive Director, Regional Director and the Minister’s office.
The portal can be accessed from this link.
Principal Glen Park Primary School
(I am happy to email my submission to your office on request)