Local teachers strike

SCORES of Swan Hill teachers engaged in a 24 hour work-stoppage yesterday in protest of State Government's financing of education in Victoria.

The introduction of performance-based pay and inadequate incentives for young people to enter the workforce were the main concerns of teachers, according to representatives of the strikers.

"Over the past year we have seen major cuts in education funding," one teacher commented.

"Soon there simply will not be enough money around to offer the quality programs that we have at the moment.

"More children will slip through the cracks as class sizes grow."

A spokeswoman for the Coalition Government told The Guardian the offer the Baillieu Government has made will make Victorian teachers the best paid in the country.

The offer includes a 2.5 per cent pay increase alongside the introduction of a new performance-based pay scheme.

"The AEU's demand for a 30 per cent pay rise with no performance targets is out of touch with the workplaces of most Victorian parents," the spokeswoman said.

"We urge the AEU to return to negotiating with government.

We are disappointed that in favour continued negotiating teachers are going ahead with this course of action."

Striking teachers questioned the accuracy of the government's comments.

"No, we won't be the best paid because the government is only talking about a very small percentage of teachers," a representative from Swan Hill Primary said.

"You can't compare a school to a factory or product."

The Coalition spokeswoman said the government understood that strikes were difficult on families as personal and professional lives were centred around the school timetable.

Teachers returned to work today with no further strikes announced.

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