Thousands rally against education cuts
Thousands rally against education cuts

Teachers attending today's strike have been offered cheap cocktails, lunch specials and discounted parking through deals set up by their union.

The State School Teachers Union website lists a raft of discounts available only to members attending the march and rally in the city, including cheap parking in two Wilson carparks, $7 gin and tonics as part of a lunch special at Central Park's Grand Bar and Bistro and $12 cocktails at Andaluz bar after 4pm.

Education Minister Peter Collier said he thought it "inappropriate" for teachers to take up the offers on a day when parents would be inconvenienced by the strike.

"I would be quite surprised if teachers took advantage of cheap alcohol on what they are calling a 'community day of action'," he said.

"I would much prefer to see our teachers in the classrooms than having a long lunch."

SSTU president Pat Byrne said she was unaware of the discounts and conceded it might not send the right message, but local businesses were entitled to take advantage of the fact there would be so many extra people in the city.

"Our members are there to make a point and the point is they want the money put back in the education budget," she said. "I would be very surprised if we'd be having anybody distracted from that purpose. I guess what people do after the event is up to them."

The manager of one of the bars promoted on the SSTU website - who did not want to be named - confirmed she had been approached by a union marketing officer who suggested they join other local business in offering a day of action discount.

One teacher wrote under a link to the special offers on the SSTU Facebook page: "We should do drinks after!!!"

The strike - organised by a union alliance representing teachers, education assistants, other school staff and parents - will start at Langley Park at 10am, followed by a march up St Georges Terrace at 11am for a rally at Parliament House at noon.

The Education Department yesterday confirmed the number of schools that would close today had risen to 103.

Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten continued to put school funding at the centre of Labor's Senate election campaign, visiting Belmont Park Primary School.

"We're concerned that education cuts will be one of the features of the upcoming Federal Budget," he said.

"Tony Abbott gave Colin Barnett the green light to make these school cuts. If Tony Abbott told Colin Barnett to reverse his cuts to schools and teachers, then this protest wouldn't have to happen."

The Prime Minister denied cutting any funding from education.


The West Australian

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