Monday, 4 August 2008

Rolling strikes hit SA schools

Nearly 150 northern suburbs schools in Adelaide are closing for half a day as teachers start another round of a prolonged campaign for higher pay and a different school funding model.

State schools will be hit by rolling strikes throughout the week and there are threats to maintain the rage until the state election.

Teachers last held a strike in June, but the South Australian Government refused to budge on demands for a 21 per cent pay rise, offering less than half that, over three years.

It also refuses to withdraw a school funding model the union rejects.

SA Industrial Relations Minister Paul Caica is in the protesters' sights.

"They'll be at my office this week and I look forward to having my staff greet them with a cup of tea," he said.

There are 148 schools and pre-schools closed in the northern suburbs until the afternoon.

Opposition education spokesman David Pisoni says it will be a wasted learning day.

"My guess is many of the students won't be there for the afternoon and what impact will that have on their attendance records?" he said.

Adelaide western suburbs schools will have stoppages on Tuesday, the eastern suburbs and Mitcham area on Wednesday and the southern suburbs on Thursday.

More action possible

Australian Education Union official Correna Haythorpe says it could be an issue until the next state poll.

"We would hope to see a resolution to the dispute sooner rather than later but if we need to take this matter right up to the next state election then that's what will happen," she said.

Mr Caica doubts that will happen.

"I don't believe that there will be industrial action right up until the next election and we will resolve these issues and the best way of doing that is ensuring that we continue to negotiate and we continue to talk and we do so in good faith," he said.

The union warns there could be further strikes this school term, including full-day or two-day strikes.

Parents are advised to contact their children's schools for more information about closures.

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