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Thousands of striking teachers urged to continue fight

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More than 3000 public school teachers have rallied in Adelaide, vowing to take the fight for better wages and conditions up to the State Government.

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Today’s rally came amid a half-day strike by teachers across SA, the first walkout for 10 years after negotiations stalled on a new enterprise agreement.

Australian Education Union state president Howard Spreadbury told the rally the government had underestimated the resolve of teachers on important measures including smaller class sizes, sustainable workloads and better pay.

Teachers also want more resources for special needs children and more support for country schools.

“We are proud, we are passionate and we are committed to the students of this state and to public education,” he said.

“We will take this fight up to the government for as long as it takes.”

As well as the big city turnout, rallies were also held in regional centres across SA.

They came after Treasurer Rob Lucas declared today’s strike a failure before it had been held.

Lucas said less than 200 of the state’s nearly 900 schools and pre-schools were expected to close because of the action.

He condemned the AEU for rushing to strike, which he said was “ill-conceived” and “puerile in the extreme”.

The treasurer said the government was putting extra money into education and criticised the union’s demands for a 3.5 per cent interim pay rise which he said would cost the government $80 million a year.

Following today’s strike, AEU officials and government negotiators were scheduled to meet for more negotiations on the enterprise agreement.

– AAP

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