Teachers, principals and support staff voted at stop work meetings around the state on Monday to escalate industrial action and introduce new work bans if the Liberal Government fails to progress negotiations by a deadline of 12th February, the AEU said today.
“Educators are extremely frustrated that the state Liberal Government hasn’t scrapped its political position of paying Tasmanian teachers the least in the country or agreed to provide more in-class support desperately needed for the 2019 school year,” said Roz Madsen, AEU Tasmanian State Manager.
“It is unacceptable that students will be returning on Wednesday to the same under-resourced classrooms and with teachers feeling disrespected by a state government that won’t even offer a pay rise that keeps up with the cost of living,” she said.
“Support Staff return to the same roles which sees them stood down over the holidays and who haven’t had a pay rise since December 2017.”
Treasurer Peter Gutwein told Tasmanian Talks on Monday (4 February) that he was sitting on a $400 million cash surplus and the money was for areas of greatest need.
“Government budgets and spending are about priorities and there is nothing more important than the education of our kids and this Government needs to get its priorities right,” she said.
AEU members held Stop Work Meetings on Monday [4th Feb] in schools and colleges around the state. The meetings were scheduled to minimise disruption and educators in fire affected communities were exempt from the action.
“The good will of educators is rapidly running out and if there’s no progress by the 12th February deadline then our Executive, at its meeting on 14 February, may decide to escalate campaign action which could include work bans and future stop work action,” said Ms Madsen.
The Stop Work Meetings have given Executive strong feedback that members support escalated action.
“Tassie kids will miss out on the quality education they deserve if we don’t pay teachers enough to ensure we attract and retain the best and brightest and classrooms aren’t resourced to meet the individual learning needs of students,” she said.
Figures released by the ABS recently showed that inflation was running at 3% in Tasmania meaning the Government’s political offer of a 2% pay rise for educators was in fact a pay cut.
“Hodgman’s offer of a 2% pay rise not only relegates Tasmanian teachers to lowest paid in the country but also sends the living standards of educators backwards – and teacher assistants take home as little as $25,000 a year,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Productivity Commission data released on Friday shows that the State Government has cut funding for in-class support for public school students since coming to government.
“The Tasmanian Liberal Government is not prioritising education but instead making political decisions to cut funding – we need a Government that will stand-up for our kids and quality education.”
Harriet Binet, AEU Tasmania, 0427 841 760