Teachers call for more pay
WHITSUNDAY teachers are prepared to take further industrial action to secure a pay increase that puts them on an equal footing with other states.
That was the message clearly delivered by the 80 Queensland Teachers’ Union (QTU) members who attended a strike meeting at the Proserpine Ex-Services Club on Tuesday.
Members slammed the Queensland Government’s offer for a 12.5 per cent pay rise over three years with President of the QTU Whitsunday Branch Rod Wecker saying that the offer would still see teachers starting their career in Queensland the worst paid in Australia.
Members passed the four state-wide resolutions condemning the Government’s offer and supporting further industrial action if steps weren’t taken by the Government towards a better offer.
There were also three additional resolutions tabled and passed – one being a vote of no confidence in the Minister for Education Geoff Wilson, one for the union to consider stopping co-operation with the Queensland Study Authority (QSA), and one condemning Regional Executive Director of Education Wayne Butler for intimidating Union members.
Following the meeting, a large group of the members marched down the street with placards to the office of Member for Whitsunday Jan Jarratt, where President of the QTU Whitsunday Branch Rod Wecker booked a meeting for next Wednesday.
The strike, which forced students across the region to stay at home for a day, may not be a one-off with union members keen to consider further strikes and other industrial action in order that progress be made towards reaching a reasonable agreement.
Other action could include work bans, non-cooperation with new departmental initiatives, stopping extra-curricular activities and public protests.
Mr Wecker said it was important that teachers were paid appropriately so they didn’t defect to other states.
"This offer is completely inadequate as Queensland teachers are already among the lowest paid in Australia," he said.
Member for Whitsunday Jan Jarratt is in Parliament this week but she said she was prepared to listen to the union’s concerns at the meeting arranged for next week.
"As a former teacher, I acknowledge and respect the very hard work that teachers have to do," Ms Jarratt said.
"But the role of Treasurer in these difficult economic times is also very challenging.
"The Minister for Education has indicated a willingness to continue to negotiate in a positive way and we all hope for an early resolution to the Enterprise Bargaining negotiations."