Workers’ first choice of union in a century


A NEW union believes it can entice at least half of the powerful Queensland Teachers' Union membership by offering competitive rates while promising to be independent of politics.

For the first time in about 100 years, the state's teachers will have another union to choose from, with the Teachers' Professional Association of Queensland to officially launch today.

It follows the establishment of the Nurses' Professional Association of Queensland, which has emerged as a credible rival to the Queensland Nurses' and Midwives' Union.

The new teachers' union will offer a flat yearly rate of $442 for full-time teachers across the public and private sector.

TPAQ assistant state secretary Jack McGuire
TPAQ assistant state secretary Jack McGuire

This is comparable to the QTU and the Independent Education Union Queensland branch, which base their fees on wages.

Recent figures revealed the QTU's membership grew to 46,724 last financial year while the IEU's fell from 16,667 to 16,590.

TPAQ assistant state secretary Jack McGuire told The Courier-Mail the union's executive was formed by a group of teachers that were concerned abut the politicisation of the classroom and the education model.

"They state that focus on key areas such as classroom behaviour and being able to maintain an environment conducive to learning was totally lacking," he said.

Mr McGuire said not one cent of members' money would be diverted to political parties.

He said the TPAQ had established a superlative legal and industrial team to protect its members' rights and advocate on their behalf.

Mr McGuire also said a member's political leanings were of no concern.

"For us it is all about freedom of choice," he said.

The union was modelled on the Nurses' Professional Association of Queensland, which launched almost six years ago, that now has approximately 5000 members.

"In fact, the TPAQ uses the same legal and industrial support as the NPAQ, so teachers can expect to be serviced right off the bat," Mr McGuire said.