Union won t reveal school strike reasons
Union won't reveal school strike reasons

The teachers' union is yet to release details of how State Government cuts to jobs and education resources are affecting individual schools, despite calling a strike next month.

State School Teachers Union president Pat Byrne said a survey of teachers, principals and parents on the effects of the cuts had received hundreds of responses so far.

But the survey would not close until March 28 and results had not yet been collated.

Even though the union was unable to provide examples yesterday, Ms Byrne said the tone of the responses showed that teachers were mostly "very distressed".

"We've had the numbers of classes reduced when in fact the numbers of students have remained the same," she said.

"We've had beginning teachers tell us that the mentor program they thought they were going to get has in fact been cut.

"We've also got schools telling us that they don't have any money to buy the resources that are necessary to implement the new curriculum."

The SSTU, United Voice and the Community and Public Sector Union have scheduled an all-day strike for April 1, with support from the Save Our Schools parents' group, to call on the Government to reverse cuts to schools' funding.

They said yesterday they hoped for an even bigger turnout than the estimated 17,000 school staff and parents who attended rallies around the State during a half-day strike on the same issues in September.

United Voice secretary Carolyn Smith said many more schools were likely to close for the strike than the 62 that shut last time.

"We think there will be tens of thousands of people on the streets," she said. "We think a lot more parents will be coming."

SOS spokesman Tim Kucera said his children's school, East Fremantle primary, had lost two education assistants and up to $160,000 in funding.

He believes parents are prepared to get behind teachers to stand up for children's education.

"It may be an inconvenience, but schools are not childcare centres," Mr Kucera said.

"So what we're saying is parents should either keep their kids home or turn up to the rallies and take part."

Ms Byrne said the timing of the strike four days before the Senate election was "entirely a coincidence" because the unions started planning the event weeks ago.

Education Minister Peter Collier said school staff would have their pay docked if they took part in the strike but there were no plans to take the matter to the WA Industrial Relations Commission. 'Parents should either keep their kids home or turn up to the rallies and take part.'" Parents' group spokesman Tim Kucera

The West Australian

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