AustraliaSA public school teachers vote to go on strike for better pay and conditions
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South Australia's public school teachers have voted to walk off the job on Monday, in a bid to fight for more pay and better conditions for "increasingly complex" classrooms.
The Australian Education Union of SA today said teachers were unhappy with the State Government's offer to lift wages by 2.35 per cent per year until 2022 — but the decision was not all about the money.
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Treasurer Rob Lucas has once again taken aim at the planned action and the disruption he said it would cause for students, parents and caregivers.
Australian Education Union (AEU) SA president Howard Spreadbury said the salary offer, learning conditions and workloads were all deciding factors in the decision to take a full-day strike next week.
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He also said the 3.5 per cent increase in pay requested would bring the state in line with national standards.
"It was also about workload and the fact that [teachers] felt there was not enough provision in relation to addressing the complexity, particularly class complexity in our schools and preschools," he said.
"The salary offer, the executive felt that it was not sufficient to recognise all of those other factors in relation to complexity and the work that teachers and education workers do.
"It's not just about the money … it's about our members' conditions, it's about protecting existing conditions."
Workloads and 'complex' classes
Mr Spreadbury said one of the biggest factors of the decision to strike again was related to workloads and "complex" classes.
"The union is looking for an increase in the level of resourcing that the Government is putting on the table to address complexity," he said.
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"It's not just the quantum of money, it's the mechanism for how that money is allocated.
"We want the resource to be able to find its way into the classroom to support the teacher and the students in that class, to assist the learning of students, to assist the increasingly complex workload of teachers."
While he could not say how many schools would take part, Mr Spreadbury said the union expected the majority of public schools would.
"We would anticipate that a significant majority of over 500 schools and preschools as well would be participating in the action on Monday," he said.
'No amount of chanting' will make money appear
The State Government stood firm in its budget decision, with the Treasurer highlighting the chaos the strike would cause.
In a statement to the ABC, Mr Lucas said the State Government was disappointed in the decision.
"We are disappointed, but perhaps not surprised, that the union bosses from the AEU have got their wish and proceeded down the path of maximum disruption and chaos for parents, grandparents and students in the final week of term," Mr Lucas said.
"While we respect their right to industrial action, we have made it quite clear that no amount of chanting, waving placards and singing John Farnham songs is going to make money magically appear in the budget.
"The Government has put forward an exceptionally fair and reasonable offer, one that provides a 2.35 per cent per annum pay rise until May 2022 and millions in additional funding for schools with higher levels of complexity, for highly accomplished and lead teachers and country incentives."
The union said a rally would be held at Parliament House in the Adelaide CBD on Monday at 11:00am, while a number of other rallies were planned in regional parts of the state as well.
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