Victorian teachers' union votes to support Climate Strike

A School Strike 4 Climate protest in Melbourne on March 15.

The Australian Education Union’s (AEU) Victorian branch voted to support a student-initiated call for a Climate Strike on September 20.

The internationally coordinated strike, which will be held just days before a United Nations Emergency Climate Summit, is seeking to pressure governments to take serious action to address the climate crisis.         

The motion, which was passed unanimously at the union's August 2 state council meeting, calls on AEU officials to negotiate with the state government "to ensure students participating in the student strike planned for Sept 2019 and future actions are afforded their democratic rights and can do so safely". Union officials are also called upon to "provide advice to AEU members about the appropriate protocols to ensure the safe participation of students in the strike where students choose to participate and to send a delegation from the AEU Vic Branch central office".

The motion also stated: "We encourage members to show solidarity by participating in one or more of the suggested ideas below which have been proposed by the students: apply for a form of approved leave in order to attend the strike; organise a workplace action to show solidarity such as posting selfies to social media; pass a resolution of solidarity from your sub-branch." 

During discussion, AEU branch councillors were urged to encourage colleagues to make it as easy as possible for students to attend by, for example, not scheduling tests on that day or allowing students to resit any tests they could potentially miss.

[Mary Merkenich is an AEU Victorian Branch councillor and a member of the Socialist Alliance.]

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