Teachers set to strike

STUDENTS are set to miss half a day of school today as Victorian teachers rally for better pay and conditions.

Belvoir Special School will close until 12.38pm, while at other schools only selected year levels and classes will be affected.

Between 80 to 120 public school staff will meet at The Cube, Wodonga, at 10am and walk down High Street into Stanley Street to protest in front of Bill Tilley’s office.

Australian Education Union officials have warned if the government is not prepared to negotiate, camps and parent-teacher nights will be scrapped next.

Wodonga branch union president and Wodonga Middle Years teacher David Henricus said teachers had stopped putting in extra unpaid hours for staff meetings.

Even though that ended last month, Mr Henricus said schools were still feeling the impact.

“It has an effect because it’s slowed the planning process down and it has just put teachers in more stress to organise the activities that we planned,” Mr Henricus said.

Today’s half-day strike will see many union members away from work until about lunchtime but they will return to teach students by 12.38pm, the half-way point of their day.

Letters were sent to parents explaining the modified timetable.

If the strike fails to lead to an agreement, teachers are set to strike again, for a full day, on February 14.

Mr Henricus said the union had more than halved its pay-rise demands to an increase of 12 per cent over three years.

But he said the Baillieu government had refused to budge from its offer of 2.5 per cent.

“If there is no agreement next week we will be working a 38-hour week which means camps, excursions and parent teacher nights won’t be able to run,” he said.

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