About 30,000 teachers in Victoria state schools made good their threat to strike on Thursday. The industrial action caused the close of about 160 schools in the state over higher pay and better work conditions.
The industrial action is expected to be repeated in the coming days as the tutors approved a resolution to hold more one- to 24-hour job walk offs on a statewide, regional and branch level.
The teachers, who marched to the state Parliament at noon, rejected the 2.5 per cent pay hike offer of the state government. They spoke against Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu for not honoring his pre-election promise to make the teachers in the state the best paid in the country.
Instead, the government limited the better pay offer to the top 70 per cent best performing teachers only made up of a 10 per cent bonus for the top 10 per cent teachers, 6 per cent bonus for the next 20 per cent and 1.4 per cent bonus for the next 40 per cent.
"People expect him to be a person of his word. It wasn't made lightly, it was repeated a number of times over the three years in the lead-up to the state election and we expect something better than two-and-a-half percent," ABC quoted Mary Bluett, state president of the Australian Education Union (AEU).
Teaching Profession Minister Peter Hall denied the government broke its promise as he expressed disappointment with the strike because it caused disruption to the daily activities of families and parents in Victoria.
The premier, rather than meet the striking teachers, opted to visit the inundated Gippsland region.
"We think that is a fair and reasonable offer and not only that, it will go to assist in building capacity in our teaching profession and quality in our teaching profession," News.com.au.
The AEU identified some of the closed schools as Lockwood, Huntly, Mt Macedon, DarraweitGuim, Roddells Creek and Colbinabbin.
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