Vic teachers vote for industrial action

·2-min read

Victorian government school teachers have voted in favour of taking industrial action to achieve a new pay deal.

The Australian Education Union on Thursday confirmed a ballot for protected industrial action was overwhelmingly supported, with 97 per cent of those who took part voting in favour of action.

Action could include a ban on writing report cards or reading department documents, refusing to take part in staff meetings after hours or most significantly, walking off the job.

The union has been in negotiations with the Department of Education for a new enterprise agreement for almost a year.

They are seeking a seven per cent pay rise for each of the next three years and a 6.5 per cent increase to their superannuation.

Australian Education Union Victorian branch president Meredith Peace said the ballot result sent a clear message to the Labor government.

"Premier Daniel Andrews and Education Minister James Merlino have not done enough to address the spiralling and unsustainable workloads of teachers, principals and education support staff in public schools," she said in a statement.

Ms Peace said Victoria spent $1384 less per public student compared with the national average, with teachers, principals and education support staff forced to work longer and harder to make up for the shortfall.

"Public school teachers work an average of 15 unpaid hours every week. Public school principals work on average almost 60 hours each week and many education support staff report that they cannot complete their duties within their paid hours," she said.

Mr Andrews said the government would continue to negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement with school staff.

"I would just respectfully say that now's not the time for industrial action. Now's the time for us to come together, work together," he told reporters outside parliament.

"Our teachers have done an amazing job, our education support staff have done an amazing job those last couple of years. We want to get kids back into the classroom.

"We'll work through those issues and get a fair and balanced outcome."

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