Thousands of teachers across South Australia went on strike yesterday.
More than 170 public schools closed, including high schools where some year 12 students were sitting their final exams.
The action was launched after the state’s peak education union rejected the SA Government’s latest offer to improve pay and conditions.
The SA branch of the Australian Education Union (AEU) has been in negotiations with the State Government since August.
Union members rejected the Government’s third offer earlier this month, which included gradual pay increases of between 2.5% and 4% over the next three years.
AEU SA President Andrew Gohl called the offer “meagre”.
Teachers voted overwhelmingly (83%) to strike for the second time since September.
Gohl called for a pay increase in line with the government’s figures on inflation (rising prices).
He also quoted a 2022 study by the University of South Australia that found almost one in two teachers intended to leave their job over the next five years.
The Education Department said more than 170 schools were affected by today’s strikes, including pre-schools.
Despite the closures, the department said the majority of public schools across the state would operate as normal, or implement “modified learning programs” for the day.
Accounting and physics final exams took place for 900 year 12 students in South Australian public schools today.
However, Education Minister Blair Boyer said there were no reported issues related to the exams.
Boyer said “our teachers do need to be paid more” and “we do need to tackle workload”.
“We are not in disagreement around what the challenges of the workforce are,” he said.
Boyer has invited the union to “return to the negotiating table”.