District schools closed and ran with reduced classes last Thursday so striking teachers could take part in a stop work action rally in Melbourne.RUTH CLAYTON February 20, 2013 4:38am
Rochester Secondary College teacher and the school's AEU representative Geoff Pymer at the AEU's stop-work rally on Thursday.
District teachers are expected to be among thousands of Victorian teachers to take part in half-day rolling stoppages next term.
Victorian teachers voted to undertake the half-day stoppages at the Australian Education Union stop work action meeting in Melbourne last Thursday.
Up to 30,000 Victorian teachers walked off the job for the day as part of the AEU Keep the Promise campaign, which, according to the AEU, is aimed to keep Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu accountable for his pledge to make Victoria’s teachers the highest paid in the country.
The union is demanding better wages, better working conditions, reasonable class sizes and non-performance-based pay.
Across the district, Rochester Primary School and Nanneella Estate Primary School cancelled all classes on Thursday.
Rochester Secondary College and Lockington Primary School ran with reduced classes.
Rochester Secondary College teacher and the school’s AEU representative Geoff Pymer said there was an amazing turn-out to the meeting at Hisense Arena, which he estimated saw between 12,000 and 13,000 teachers gathered.
He said thousands more joined for the rally to Parliament House.
AEU members voted at the meeting to continue to implement their 38-hour campaign, which bans activities which require them to work unpaid hours, such as at school camps, excursions or report writing.
Members voted against undertaking a two-day stop work action.
‘‘The basic mood of the meeting and most people who were there was the intransigence of the government in the bargaining position, which has not changed from the original (pay) offer two years ago,’’ Mr Pymer said.
‘‘A 2.5 per cent pay rise is less than the CPI (consumer price index).
‘‘The government needs to understand what negotiations (are) and not just restate the same case over and over.”
Mr Pymer said the AEU was against the government’s insistence of performance pay.
‘‘(Performance pay) is totally unacceptable to the AEU, because of its destructive potential to the co-operative environment within schools,” he said.
He said another issue was the high number of contract teachers in Victoria, who had no job security or promise of ongoing employment.
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