A former school principal and teacher says escalated industrial action by teachers should not have a major impact on parents and carers, if schools respond appropriately.
Peter Kearney, who worked in the education industry for 45 years, said industrial action being taken this week by teachers “was not unreasonable” given the options they have.
Mr Kearney said public servants such as teachers, did not have access to much leverage when it came to industrial action.
“If a teacher has a dispute with their employer the amount of leverage they have for industrial action is not high,” he said.
He said while it was understandable, it was important to note it was up to the government to decide how much teachers were paid.
The Australian Education Union Tasmania branch late last week directed its union member teachers to escalate their industrial action in an effort to bring the state government back to the negotiating table on pay and workload conditions.
Action included not entering comments on end-of-year reports, and not updating an Education Department central database program with attendance records.
The action follows large scale union rallies last week held across the state after union representatives rejected the state government’s offer of a six per cent pay rise over three years.
Treasurer Peter Gutwein urged unions on Friday to stop disruption essential services and accept the government’s pay rise offer.
“Many Tasmanians are appalled that unions would deliberately cancel elective surgeries and refuse to complete student reports when they are being offered a payrise of six per cent over three years,” he said.
“The government’s pay rise offer is fair and affordable. It allows us to invest in essential services and employ 250 more teachers and 1300 more health staff over the next six years.”
Mr Kearney said he anticipated the action would not have a significant impact on parents, but it depended on each school’s response.
“It’s up to the parents to tell the teachers what they would like to know about their child’s schooling,” he said.
Typically, parents want to know two things about their children’s school experience, Mr Kearney said: if their child was going ok and if they were happy at school.
“You aren’t going to get that kind of information in a school report,” he said.
The action has also been conducted in the health sector, with the Australian Nursing Midwifery Federation announcing its members would stop doing overtime on elective surgeries and launching a social media campaign.