Public school teachers consider next move after strike action

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

Public school teachers in South Australia (SA) are planning their next moves after thousands rallied during a strike on 9 November.

The action saw more than 170 public schools across the state impacted and marked the second time in a few months that the state’s schoolteachers have marched through the Adelaide CBD. The public school teachers are seeking higher salaries and better working conditions.

“I thought it was an excellent turnout,” said Australian Education Union SA Branch president Andrew Gohl.

He labelled the industrial action a success.

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“I thought that the tone of the rally was one that was expressing some real anger and frustration, and I think it was good for the government to see that we’re disappointed by their actions.”

There was, Mr Gohl said, still plenty of work to do to reach an agreement.

A union committee comprising 20 public school teachers, school service officers, and other workers met today.

Fresh negotiation set for 14 November

“It will be a discussion of where we’re at and where we need to get to and what are the prospects of getting there through negotiation or taking any actions,” Mr Gohl said. “At the movement, the reason we have strike action is when we need more leverage at the bargaining table, or things have stalled or things aren’t satisfactory. It’s not a strike for strike’s sake, it’s actually quite strategic in the way it’s designed to put pressure on those we are negotiating.”

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The results of their meeting will be revealed on 14 November when another negotiation with the SA government takes place.

SA Education Minister Blair Boyer said he was hopeful about finding a resolution with the teachers’ union.

In a recent media conference, Mr Boyer said he has “never disagreed with the items that are at the heart of this enterprise bargaining process” and said that the point of contention between the two groups was the speed change could be implemented.
“I think the fact that we have made three offers now in three months, each larger than the first, and moved our position on a number of items … shows there is a genuineness and willingness on behalf of me and the premiere and the government to generally negotiate and compromise,” he said.

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]