Australian Education Union teacher and support staff members at Launceston College stopped work for respect today in a signal of increasing industrial action across Tasmanian schools and colleges, as educators say the State Government has ignored their solutions to a crisis in education.
Fed up with ongoing Government neglect, Launceston College AEU members took a stand to lift learning conditions for students and reduce excessive workloads for educators.
The 15 minute stop-work action was driven by Launceston College AEU members, including AEU Rep and teacher Cameron Hindrum, who said Wednesday’s strike was about sending a strong message to the State Government.
“It is to let the State Government know that teachers are fed up with being taken for granted,” he said.
“It is a ‘shot across the bows’ of a Government that has turned its back on Tasmania’s teachers. Our demands are not unreasonable and continued refusal to improve conditions will only lead to escalations in the industrial action that teachers are prepared to take.”
Tasmania is in the grips of the worst teacher shortage in decades, with record numbers leaving the profession in a State that has the lowest paid teacher workforce nationally.
Mr Hindrum, a teacher of more than 25 years, said it was beyond time Tasmania’s educators were recognised with improved pay and conditions, conducted in good faith.
“For a long time now, teachers have been required to undertake tasks and roles considerably beyond the scope of teaching, including but not limited to pastoral care and administrative tasks,” he said.
“It is not too much to ask for that to be recognised when the time comes for an open and honest conversation about improving pay and conditions.”
AEU Tasmania President David Genford said more schools and colleges were gearing up for stop-work action as the Government continues showing disrespect for student learning conditions and ballooning educator workloads.
“Tasmanian teachers really are at breaking point,” Mr Genford said.
“The State Government has heard firsthand about Tasmania’s chronic teacher shortage, about the need for more school psychologists for our students, about the need for more in-class support to reduce educator workload. But nothing is being done to address the burnout.”
“Over the coming weeks it’s likely more schools and colleges, like Launceston College, will take stop-work action until the State Government shows respect for educators and gets serious about the glaring issues impacting students and education in Tasmania.”
“Like everything teachers and school staff do, these actions are for our students, their learning and their future – without educators, there’s no education.”