Tasmanian teachers have walked off the job, forcing schools across the state to close early or open late.
In Hobart, the teachers joined hundreds of public sector workers, including nurses, firefighters and parks and wildlife officers, at a stop-work rally that packed City Hall.
The dispute between the State Government and public sector unions over pay and conditions has been ongoing.
The Government on Friday announced 136 schools across the state would either open late or close early due to the strike action, before delivering its latest offers for teachers.
The Australian Education Union’s Tasmanian branch rejected the latest pay offer, which included a 7 per cent pay rise over three years.
At the Hobart rally, teacher Peta-Maree Revell-Cook said the Government’s offer did not address workload concerns.
“Effectively, the number one issue we have is lack of resourcing and funding in the classroom,” she said.
Strikes extend to Launceston, Burnie
This morning, about 1,000 teachers gathered in Launceston, in the state’s north, causing dozens of schools to start late.
Primary school teacher Alison Jales took part in the Launceston rally, and said the Government needed to improve school resources and conditions for teachers.
“I don’t want to be teaching in a class of 30 children — some who are trauma affected, some on the autism spectrum, some with additional learning needs … and not be able to give them the time and support that they need,” she said.
“It breaks my heart that we’re not able to do the best we can for our kids.”
Tim Jacobson from the Health and Community Services Union said workers did not accept that the Government could only afford a 7 per cent pay rise over three years.
“I’m sick of listening to the Treasurer and his spin every time,” he said.
However, Tasmanian Treasurer Peter Gutwein said the Government did not have room to move.
He said lowered expectations around the national GST revenue pool meant Tasmania would receive $40 million less than forecast this financial year, and the state needed to be financially responsible.
Mr Gutwein said the Government’s education offer should be taken to union members for a secret ballot, and called for any further action to be called off.
Public sector workers rallied in Burnie, in the north-west, yesterday.
Topics: teachers, unions, government-and-politics, hobart-7000, launceston-7250, burnie-7320
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