The government has conceded some schools may have to close for the full day this month and that relief teachers could face a pay cut as part of wage negotiations.
Fairfax understands that a significant cut to relief teachers’ pay is on the table for the negotiations between the government and Australian Education Union which resumed in Hobart on Thursday.
Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff said today he would know early next week whether any schools will close for the day because of industrial action by teachers.
Teachers will hold 45 minute stop-work meetings at 9am in the North and North-West on November 27 and the South on November 28 which would mean schools would need to start at 10.30am.
Mr Rockliff said he was considering a student free day as an option for some schools.
“My expectation is that I'll have information to hand very early next week and I'll make a decision then on whether or not individual schools have to close for the whole day or indeed can remain open the whole day so schools can cover this,” he said.
“We do not want to see parents and students punished as a result of industrial action.
“That's why we have found a way to further reduce workload with an additional 95 teachers in our schools.”
Mr Rockliff said an extra 95 specialist teachers would be recruited to help address the union’s workload concerns.
“The offer not only specifically addresses the AEU’s workload concerns but would also see dedicated specialist teachers such as maths, arts and sports teachers returned to Tasmanian primary schools for the first time in over 20 years,” he said.
“A reform that the AEU has been calling on for years and which Labor failed to deliver in 16 years of government.
We did not want to see parents and students punished as a result of industrial action. That's why we have found a way to further reduce workload with an additional ninety five teachers in our schools.
He said more than 500 teachers had applied for new teacher positions.
“That clearly highlights that people want to come and work in Tasmania to be trained in Tasmania and work as a teacher in our public school system,” Mr Rockliff said.
Mr Rockliff also confirmed the pay rates for relief teachers were on the negotiating table.
“Our relief teachers are the highest paid in the country,” he said.
“That is an area that we can provide some savings to support our considerable investment to reduce workload in schools and possibly compromise on.”