AEU members postpone strike

AEU SA media release: Friday 28 January 2022

Yesterday AEU SA’s Executive voted to re-ballot members to postpone industrial action planned for Wednesday 2 February. This follows constructive dialogue with DfE resulting in a raft of improvements to health and safety in an Omicron environment for students and staff.

DfE has committed to continuing discussions on matters such as safe working provisions for vulnerable workers and workers with vulnerable family members as well as COVID leave because the outcomes have implications beyond the education workforce. 

AEU SA President Andrew Gohl thanked members who demonstrated firm resolve to ensure that their concerns were addressed.  “Without members’ commitment to industrial action educators’ issues would have continued to be ignored by this government.”  

Mr Gohl also thanked SA’s broader education community, including parents, who have overwhelmingly supported the AEU’s objective to create a safer learning environment for students and staff.

“Community feedback has been very positive. Parents know the AEU will always stand up for a safe learning environment for children and students, regardless of who’s in power.

“We understand that this dispute came at a difficult time for families,” said Mr Gohl.

“However the advice from education professionals was for the start of the school year to be delayed by two weeks.

"This would’ve given a reasonable opportunity for the AEU to work with DfE collaboratively and carefully through the complex issues that Omicron presents for education. 

"Instead the Premier failed to heed that advice, failed to listen, and members were left with no option but to take action to address the issues created by a muddled start of the school year.” 

Seventy-six percent of members voted to support the proposal that, “Industrial action be postponed until further notice, pending continued constructive negotiations with the Department for Education and the Government.” 

Mr Gohl said, “This result clearly indicates strong support for the AEU’s advocacy for a safe learning environment for students and staff. The Government however remains on notice that failure to listen respectfully to union members’ concerns may result in further action. 

"I am hopeful that the Education Department now realises that AEU members want to collaborate when it comes to important issues and in building a great Public Education system.”