VIC Catholic teachers to strike

Victorian Catholic school teachers are set to discuss whether they will go on strike next month - alongside their government school counterparts - in a sign of solidarity against the state government's 3.25 per cent wage rise offer.

While Catholic school teachers will meet on Thursday to discuss whether to take industrial action on March 7, record number of schools will close across Victoria as state teachers strike for more pay.

The Agereports the Australian Education Union (AEU) Victorian president Mary Bluett (pictured) said about 25,000 teachers were expected to strike.

About 400 of the state's 1,575 state schools already had notified the union they would close for the day-long action on Thursday.

"We have about 400 notifications already and there are schools that have never closed before that are closed for the day, including a number of secondary schools," Ms Bluett said.

"We're going to have a record number of schools fully closed."

In a twist on the federal government's Work Choices legislation, Ms Bluett also said because the new laws stipulate fines for non-union members who strike, about 4,000 teachers had joined the union since November so they could take part in the campaign.

"Under Work Choices, non-union people can't strike or they open themselves up to fines," Ms Bluett said.

"829 people joined the union yesterday in order to take the stopwork action and since November over 4,000 people have joined the union and the reason they are citing is so they can join the campaign."

The union is calling for a 10 per cent annual wage increase while the government has offered 3.25 per cent.

Vic teachers set for 'record' strike (The Age 12/02/08)


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