Treasurer Peter Gutwein has attacked the teachers’ union for rejecting the latest government wage offer which would have seen 95 more specialist teachers and reduced contact hours for primary school teachers.
Mr Gutwein said the decision showed “the total and utter contempt they have for Tasmanian families and students.”
“Why won’t the AEU leadership take a reasonable and fair offer to their members?” he said.
“It would seem that the AEU leadership is more interested in playing politics with Tasmanian students’ education, rather than reaching a common-sense deal which is good for teachers, good for students and good for our education system.”
Australian Education Union Tasmanian branch manager Roz Madsen and executive member David Genford said the government’s latest offer was “less than a page”, was light on detail and did nothing to address workloads in primary and high schools and colleges.
“Educators are left with little option other than to continue with the two-day stop work action as the government is clearly still not listening to workload concerns that negatively impact the quality of education our students receive,” Ms Madsen said.
“They’ve plucked a figure of 95 additional specialist teachers out of the air at the last moment and presented it with no detail about how or when they would be recruited, how they would be deployed and how they would actually reduce workload.”
Mr Genford said there was limited detail in the government’s offer.
“All the offer had was money that was promised at the election,” he said.
The government has conceded some schools may have to close for the full day this month because of the stop-work meetings.
Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff said he would know early next week whether any schools would close for the teachers’ stop-work meetings.
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.
This was rejected by the AEU.
“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,” Mr Rockliff said.
“We do not want to see parents and students punished as a result of industrial action.”