It’s Time to Respect Public Education

Today thousands of teaching staff will be joining half day Stop Work rallies across the state to improve working and learning conditions in public schools and preschools.

Teachers will be gathering at 31 Flinders Street in the city at 9.30am and across regional centres including Berri, Mount Gambier, Port Augusta, Port Lincoln, Port Pirie, Whyalla and Victor Harbor. The Australian Education Union (SA Branch) organised the industrial action when discussions for the new Enterprise Agreement deteriorated.

Australian Education Union (AEU) President Mr Howard Spreadbury wants the community to know that this industrial action has not been taken lightly.

“Believe me, our members have found it extremely difficult to leave their classrooms for a half day. They are a highly responsible and dedicated group of professionals who understand the impact on the learning environment should the Marshall Government’s proposals proceed.”

Leaving the classroom for a few hours today is not the only issue facing teachers.

“Teaching staff have faced considerable pressure from the department and the government to resist participating in this industrial action today and because it is so important they are here. Many, many teachers have joined the AEU recently so they can participate in the rally as membership provides legal protection against discrimination by the employer when participating in industrial action,” said Mr Spreadbury.

“It is also concerning that Treasurer Lucas is attempting to downgrade the numbers of teaching staff who are participating in industrial action today,” said Mr Spreadbury. “The reality is that the Education Department only requires one registered teacher and one additional staff member to keep a site open. That is particularly alarming when you think about the duty of care of all children and students still attending these sites.”

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/Public Release.