BANS that will limit the amount of information teachers put in reports to parents and students are the next step in a campaign of industrial action by teachers for improved pay and conditions.
Australian Education Union Victorian branch vice-president Justin Mullaly foreshadowed the bans at a half-day stopwork meeting by south-west teachers yesterday.
Most primary and secondary government schools in the south-west closed yesterday morning for the stopwork and about 60 teachers picketed the Warrnambool electorate office of member for South West Coast Denis Napthine to press their claims.
It was the third time teachers have stopped work this year in the industrial dispute that has dragged on for about 18 months.
Teachers from Camperdown to Portland attended the Warrnambool rally yesterday that plastered Dr Napthine’s office with protest posters.
The half-day stoppage in the south-west schools was part of a rolling campaign of 32 half-day stoppages throughout the state as teachers stepped up the pressure in their campaign.
Mr Mullaly said the state government was showing “disrespect” to teachers by only offering a 2.5 per cent pay rise over three years in response to teachers’ claims for a 10 per cent rise.
Teachers are also opposed to the government’s plan for performance pay, which Mr Mullaly said was “divisive”.
“Performance pay will get no improvement in teachers’ performance. It will get no improvement in students’ performance,” he said.
“It goes against the grain as to what we do as a profeRssion. We work collaboratively.”
Asked what his response was to working parents who had been forced to find care for their children because of the stoppage, Mr Mullaly said teachers had not taken the action lightly.
“It’s unfortunate that we are being forced by the government to take this action so they move to put up a decent offer.”
Warrnambool College teacher David Clift said teachers had this year each lost about $1000 in pay through industrial action, which should be considered as a donation to the future education of children.
Without investing in teachers, children would not have the appropriate 21st century skills to engage in society, Mr Clift said.
He said the government was unlikely to change its mind on the teachers’ claims without pressure.