On Monday, July 1 2019, over two hundred and fifty schools may shut down as teachers’ strike outside the Parliament House. This is the outcome of a dispute between the Australian Education Union (AEU) and the State Government.
The discontentment over the proposed pay hike of two-point three-five per cent(2.35%) has led to this rally outside the Parliament. AEU demands three point five per cent (3.5%) rise.
A spokesperson for AEU SA maintains that this is more than just money. They demand better working conditions.
“It’s about smaller classrooms and teachers being able to deliver individual education outcomes to each and every student.” – Australian Education Union SA
Rob Lucas, Treasurer of South Australia, has criticised the strike saying that it is only intended to cause “maximum chaos” and “additional costs for hardworking families.”
The fact that only 28 schools are supporting the strike is pointed out as a measure of the failure of the proposed rally.
“We welcome the fact that the overwhelming majority of teachers and school staff have rejected the demands of the union bosses from the Australian Education Union to close down their schools in favour of a premeditated photo opportunity and protest on the steps of Parliament House.” – Rob Lucas.
Matthew Cherry, who is a sub-secretary of AEU, says that the government is trying to obfuscate the issues by claiming that this strike is only about the pay hike.
He explains that there is a “Personal Advisory Committee” in every school. It is mandatory to have an AEU representative on these committees. They will be responsible for labour laws, enterprise agreements and such. The government is planning to make changes which will make it not mandatory to have the representatives on-board.
This will also lead to a situation where AEU does not need to scrutinise any changes made in policy by the Education Department.
This will not be in the best interest of teachers and therefore, students, Mr Cherry concluded.
A list of schools that will be closed due to the strike is available on the Department of Education’s website.