The State Government has expressed great disappointment in the decision by the Australian Education Union to create ‘unnecessary confusion, disruption and chaos’ for parents, grandparents and students by pushing ahead with a full-day school strike on Monday, in the final week of Term 2.
Treasurer Rob Lucas said hard-working South Australian families and children would be unfairly punished by the AEU union bosses’ insistence on strike action on Monday (July 1) – which, despite being formally voted on last night, has been planned for the past three weeks.
Mr Lucas said the Government’s formal enterprise agreement offer to the AEU and the Public Service Association of SA on behalf of the state’s 28,000 teachers, principals and support staff – which includes salary increases of 2.35 per cent per annum up until May 2022 – was ‘exceptionally fair and reasonable’.
This is clearly more than reasonable given that the current inflation rate is only 1.3 per cent.
“We are disappointed, but perhaps not surprised, that the union bosses from the AEU have got their wish and proceeded down the path of maximum disruption and chaos for parents, grandparents and students in the final week of the term,” said Mr Lucas.
“They had booked the steps of Parliament House for their protest three weeks ago.
“While we respect their right to industrial action, we have made it quite clear that no amount of chanting, waving placards and singing John Farnham songs is going to make more money magically appear in the budget.
“The Government has put forward an exceptionally fair and reasonable offer, one that provides a 2.35 per cent per annum pay rise until May 2022 and millions in additional funding for schools with higher levels of complexity, for highly-accomplished and lead teachers and country incentives.
“Not to mention the additional $1.3 billion in capital works funding for schools announced in the recent 2019-20 State Budget, and the fact that we are pouring in an additional $611 million a year into education by 2022-23.”
Mr Lucas said it was too early to know how many schools will have to close as a result of the strike, and how many will remain open, albeit with potentially reduced staffing numbers.
He said principals would be in contact with their school communities throughout the week with respect to each individual school site.