South Australian teachers have been rallying for improved working and learning conditions while QLD schools campaign for human rights on Nauru and students around the country protest government inaction on climate change.
Australian Education Union (AEU) President Mr Howard Spreadbury said:
Interesting to note in the many many years of SA Labor government teachers never on strike
Liberal government first year – strike
Police will be next, the fireys, then ambos
Same as Victoria’s 4 years of protracted dispute
— Pompous Goose (@PompousGoose) November 30, 2018
“Believe me, our members have found it extremely difficult to leave their classrooms for a half day. They are a highly responsible and dedicated group of professionals who understand the impact on the learning environment should the Marshall Government’s proposals proceed.”
Leaving the classroom for a few hours today is not the only issue facing teachers.
Salisbury High School teacher Adrian Mann told ABC that the State Government was focused on putting money into school infrastructure rather than programs for vulnerable students.
“I just really want to see some more equality in terms of what we’re able to do in terms of actioning resources. There’s been a lot talked about resourcing by those in Government but much of it seems to be about infrastructure and it’s all about what affects students in the classroom.
Remember how Labor in SA ignored teachers during EBA negotiations for years (Libs continued) and now it has gotten to the point where teachers have to strike to be heard.
— Sam Shetler (@SamShetler) November 28, 2018
Mr Spreadbury added:
“Teaching staff have faced considerable pressure from the department and the government to resist participating in this industrial action today and because it is so important they are here. Many, many teachers have joined the AEU recently so they can participate in the rally as membership provides legal protection against discrimination by the employer when participating in industrial action.”
“It is also concerning that Treasurer Lucas is attempting to downgrade the numbers of teaching staff who are participating in industrial action today,” said Mr Spreadbury. “The reality is that the Education Department only requires one registered teacher and one additional staff member to keep a site open. That is particularly alarming when you think about the duty of care of all children and students still attending these sites.”
“Following his dismissive comments yesterday I would like to remind the Treasurer that principals, teachers, SSOs and early childhood workers do not provide childcare, but are trained professionals who deliver educational programs. These types of comments demonstrate the lack of respect he has for the profession.”
The treasurer had claimed on an ABC radio program that around 700 schools were not taking part in the strike action, but Mr Spreadbury argued that of that number, most were actually preschools and others would be operating with a skeleton staff to participate in rallies.
Mr Spreadbury has not ruled out further industrial action in the future.
“We are ready to negotiate and have been ready since the beginning of 2018. We could have the best public education system in Australia, if only the Marshall Government would listen to members’ insights because they are the professionals with the relevant knowledge and experience. Our door is open.”