The Hodgman Liberal Government is set to announce school closures ahead of a meeting that could prevent them, with the AEU putting a resolution on the table.

“It is typical of the disrespect for parents and educators from Will Hodgman that he plans to announce school closures before even sitting down at the table to try and resolve the dispute,” said Roz Madsen, AEU Tasmania State Manager.

“The Premier has scheduled his meeting with teachers at the very same time as the Education Minister is to announce school closures. It smacks of a political stunt rather than a genuine attempt at resolution,” said Ms Madsen.

“Adding salt to the wounds inflicted by this disrespectful approach, is a threat to dock the pay of teachers who are lowest paid in the country and support staff who are paid as little as $25,000 a year and sometimes forced to rely on Centrelink to get by.

“If the Government was listening and seriously wants to address key educator concerns and equip schools to deliver the support kids need in their classes, they have the solutions in the AEU’s counter offer.

“The Premier has had our counter-offer for well over a week and has failed to even show the respect of responding to these fair, balanced and affordable solutions.

“Surely the Premier would want to give teachers the time to consider any new offer presented at tomorrow’s meeting, before pre-emptively closing schools?

“Teachers have given the Premier solutions to issues such as more in-class support and fair pay that prevents teachers being the lowest paid in the country and, if adopted in full by the Government, would allow the AEU to reconsider taking industrial action next week.

“Industrial action is always an absolute last resort for educators and the AEU’s elected teacher and support staff leadership would consider calling off industrial action if the crucial combination of workload and pay were addressed.

“It is up to Will Hodgman to choose to prioritise quality education and the needs of educators and students or continue playing political games at the expense of children and parents.”

Key components of the AEU’s counter offer are measures to address lack of in-class support such as caps on class sizes and a reasonable pay rise of 3% that ensures Tasmanian teachers will not be the lowest paid.