Victorian teachers and support staff are threatening further rolling stoppages next term unless a deal is reached with the state government.
Parents need to either take another day out of their annual leave or lose another day’s pay to look after the children because teachers threaten further rolling stoppages next term unless a deal is reached.
No one can deny the right to industrial action for better pay and work conditions, but surely with so many children – and parents –affected by the strike this week, less severe action could have been taken to get the same message across.
The Australian Education Union wants a 30 per cent pay increase over three years for teachers and more job security for teachers and support staff. However, the government has offered a 2.5 per cent pay rise, which it said would come with substantial bonuses for around 70 per cent of teachers each year.
In response, the AEU has threatened further industrial action if no agreement is made on their claims. From the start of the 2013 school year, teachers have threatened a 38-hour week, which would severely affect camps, excursions, musicals and sports before and after school.
On Wednesday, about 15,000 teachers marched on Parliament House in Melbourne as they rejected the Baillieu government’s pay and conditions offer, which includes performance pay. This left hundreds of families in the Ballarat region alone looking for either alternative childcare for their children or being forced to use up precious leave.
It has never been beyond question that the job of a teacher is to educate. And, while teachers should never be considered as cheap childcare workers, it is hard for many families where both parents are forced to work just to get by, to find someone to look after their children if there is industrial action. And while some may say there was plenty of notice given before Wednesday’s strike, there are many families out there who don’t have the support network of grandparents, extended families or close friends to baby sit children who are unable to go to school due to industrial action.
While everyone concerned wish for an amicable resolution to the teachers’ dispute, those at the forefront of the action – the AEU and its members – need to take the welfare of everyone into consideration before taking this issue further.