Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff must provide certainty for parents and school communities and decide if schools will close early on Wednesday afternoon as educators take industrial action, the AEU said today.

“The Government was informed last Thursday that teachers, principals and support staff will be joining other public sector unions in statewide stop work meetings on Wednesday at 3pm but has failed to make a decision on whether schools will close,” said Roz Madsen, AEU Tasmanian Branch State Manager.

“Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff has been advised of the action and his delay in making a decision is causing needless uncertainty for parents and school communities,” said Ms Madsen.

“Reluctantly, teachers are taking industrial action because the Government has failed to bargain in good faith or address critical workload issues that are impacting student learning. The Government won’t negotiate on pay and proposes that Tasmania’s most experienced teachers are the lowest paid in the country.”

The AEU’s elected Branch Executive has directed its 5500 members in schools and colleges to stop work early on Wednesday 24 October to attend public sector union rallies around the state. The vast majority of educators are union members therefore it’s expected schools will need to close early in order to fulfil their duty of care obligations.

“Teachers, principals and support staff do not want to be stopping work, instead they want to be focused on supporting their students and be recognised for the important and challenging work that they do,” said Ms Madsen.

“We’re asking that the Government ensure educators in our public schools and TAFEs receive a fair wage increase, have more time to teach, support and lead education programs for students and can focus on inspiring future generations of Tasmanians.”