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Teachers vow to keep up pressure on issue of fair pay

Teaching staff who go on strike do so with a sense of distress, according to Pyalong Primary School principal Catherine Hoey.

February 20, 2013 4:21am

Four district schools closed their doors and another had classes disrupted as teachers walked off the job on Thursday in a state-wide protest for fairer pay and better teaching conditions.

Heathcote, Tooborac, Pyalong and Eppalock primary schools all shut for the day, while Holy Rosary Primary School’s grades 5 and 6 class also had the day off.

The closures look set to be the first of many this year as more than 15,000 teachers, principals and support staff voted in favour of continuing stop-work action as part of the Keep the Promise Campaign at a rally on the steps of Parliament House in Melbourne.

Pyalong Primary School principal Catherine Hoey was among those to stop work for the day.

Mrs Hoey said teaching staff did not want to go on strike but felt they had to as they wanted Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu to honour a pay promise he made to teachers before he was elected.

‘‘People feel a deep responsibility for the children at school,’’ Mrs Hoey said.

‘‘We don’t want to go on strike and we do it with deep felt distress.

‘‘But Ted Baillieu did promise before he came in to power he would make (Victorian) teachers the highest paid in Australia and he hasn’t done anything about it.

‘‘It’s the fact he said something and he is doing something else.’’

Mrs Hoey said she decided to join the strike action because she wanted teaching to remain a good career option for people in the future.

‘‘We have to stand up now for what is right for future teachers,’’ she said.

‘‘We want high quality applicants to get high quality pay.

‘‘I believe working with children is one of the most important professions that you can have.

‘‘It’s mainly the fact I want people to go in to teaching... why would you be attracted to it if you don’t get the compensation.’’

As part of continued industrial action, rolling stops would begin in second term and no overtime work would be carried out.

Australian Education Union president Meredith Peace said the 18-month campaign had been going on long enough and the Victorian Government needed to show teaching staff the respect they deserved.

‘‘What I hope for is we resolve this dispute sooner rather than later,’’ she said.

Ms Peace said Victorian education staff had made a compromise in accepting an increase over a three year period which would bring them in line with NSW.

However, until the State Government came to the negotiation table with a fair deal, the AEU would continue to act, she said.

‘‘If they continue to refuse a fair deal... we’ll keep campaigning,’’ she said.

‘‘We will really be taking the message to the community.’’

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