Salary stand-off set to end as union backs new offer for teachers

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

A long-running pay dispute between South Australian teachers and the state government may be over, with the union approving the latest offer.

On Monday night, the Australian Education Union recommended its members accept the four-year, 13 per cent wage increase.

For parents in the state who have already faced two strikes and three months of concerns around negotiations, it will no doubt come as a welcome relief, with teachers also happy that their demands for better conditions will be met.

“The offer we received today makes several improvements to key measures of our platform and represents the largest-ever investment in a South Australian education Enterprise Agreement,” SA branch president Andrew Gohl said.

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After relations between the two parties broke down in November, thousands of SA teachers were prompted to walk off the job to demand a pay rise, as well as reduced workloads, with Mr Gohl accusing the government of treating teachers with “contempt” by offering a deal he claimed would make them worse off.

SA teachers rise above title of nation’s lowest-paid educators

The latest offer will see SA educators rise from being the nation’s lowest-paid educators, to becoming closer to the salary midpoint for Australian teachers.

The government had done its best to address the union’s two main priorities of salary and workload, SA Education Minister Blair Boyer said the state government had done its best to address the union’s key priorities of workload and pay.

Under the new deal, SA teachers will receive a pay rise of four per cent in their first year, and three per cent in the subsequent three years, compared to the previous three-year offer of four per cent, three per cent and 2.5 per cent. A negotiated one-hour workload reduction will also take effect from 2028, one year earlier than the government had previously said was needed to avoid workforce shortages.

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The deciding ballot to formally accept the offer will take place this week.

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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]