SA teachers to defy IRC bans


As Green Left Weekly goes to print, public school teachers in South Australia are planning to strike on June 17. It will be the first all-day stopwork the SA Australian Education Union (AEU) has called in over ten years.

This comes despite the state government's latest offer in a last-minute attempt to stop the industrial action from taking place. The offer does not include a pay increase or any commitment to reduce class sizes. SA public school teachers are the lowest paid in the country. In a June 11 ballot, 85% of public schools voted to take part in the action.

The plan follows a breakdown in negotiations between the AEU and the state government, with the government failing to present a sufficient agreement over pay and conditions by the May 28 deadline, and after a 3000 strong rally on May 16.

Teachers plan to go ahead with the strike despite a June 13 decision by the Industrial Relations Commission to ban it. The government is determined to stop the action, stating its pay offer of 9.75% over three years is adequate. The union argues at least 21% is needed to bring SA teachers in line with their interstate colleagues.

State AEU president Correna Haythorpe says the strike has backing from parents and students, according to a May 31 article.