BALLARAT parents will find out early next week which public schools will close on Thursday when teachers go on strike.
Australian Education Union (AEU) Victorian branch has confirmed a statewide strike over conditions and pay for teachers will go ahead on June 7.
AEU Victorian branch deputy president Meredith Peace said she expected the industrial action to impact all public schools in some way and it would force some schools to close.
She said union members in schools will notify principals of numbers on Tuesday or Wednesday.
The application for protected industrial action came after negotiations for a new Enterprise Agreement between the AEU and the state government broke down last month.
As well as seeking offers around class sizes, work loads and the high level of contract employment, the union has called for a 10 per cent pay increase per year over three years.
The state government has offered annual pay rises of 2.5 per cent.
Ms Peace said Victorian teachers were paid 8.8 per cent less than their West Australian counterparts and 3.4 per cent less than New South Wales.
“We don’t take strike action lightly – it is a big decision for the teachers and union to make,” she said.
“We have at the moment 18 per cent of people being employed on fixed-term contracts.
“Our younger and newer teachers are saying ‘I will move interstate if I can get better security and employment and it is a bonus that I will ge more money for doing effectively the same job’.
“It’s really important the government value the work teachers and principals do.”
Ms Peace said the union had flagged a statewide ballot a couple of weeks ago with the community.
“We didn’t want to disrupt parents more than necessary,” she said.
She said given there had been a high level of anger about the government’s offer amongst union members, she expected high numbers would stop work. About 75 per cent of state teachers are members of the AEU.