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Issue #1560      15 August 2012

Green light for Victoria’s biggest education strike

Victorian public education support staff will join teachers and principals in a historic statewide strike on September 5, following last week’s announcement that the ballot for protected industrial action has been passed.

The ballot saw 97 percent of Victorian education support staff vote in favour of taking protected industrial action.

Australian Education Union Victorian branch president Mary Bluett said education support staff have never taken industrial action, but will now join their teacher and principal colleagues in the biggest education strike in the history of the state.

“Education support staff remain the lowest paid in Victorian schools and receive little or no recognition of their skills, experience or the crucial role they play,” Ms Bluett said.

“Forty-three percent of education support staff are on contracts.

“After almost six months of negotiations for a new agreement for education support staff, the Baillieu government had refused to make any reasonable offers around the major issues of salaries and contract employment; and are attacking existing employment conditions.

“Education support staff have never taken industrial action in Victoria’s history, but are poised to do so because of their treatment by the Baillieu government.

“To ensure every Victorian student receives the education they deserve, we need to attract and retain the best quality teachers, principals and education support staff to our schools.

“We do not take industrial action lightly, but in this case, it is crucial to ensure quality teachers, principals and education support staff remain in this state and in our profession.

“We urge the Baillieu government to return to the table and to negotiate in good faith in line with their election pledge.

“We encourage community members to show their support by joining the campaign at myschoolneeds.com.au,” Ms Bluett said.  

Next article – Rates of suicide “a national tragedy”

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