West Coast schools take industrial action as a show of solidarity

West Coast schools were among those to go on strike last Thursday as part of statewide industrial action.

Streaky Bay Area School, Wudinna RSL Memorial Kindergarten, Yalata Anangu School and Yalata Child Parent Centre joined nearly 200 schools across South Australia which closed to call on the government to listen to their needs.

Wudinna kindergarten director Beck Sampson said the action was taken to show solidarity for kindergarten staff, who are union members.

She said a guarantee for additional director administration had been presented to be removed and this was something the kindergarten was passionate about.

“We are passionate about having conditions providing the best learning opportunities for children,” she said.

“People might think we are after wages, but our focus is on improving conditions.”

The Australian Education Union said it took action in response to a stalling in discussions with the state government as part of the enterprise bargaining process.

It called for an improved learning environment for all students including more support for every student, better classroom arrangements to meet students’ needs and attracting and retaining educators for country schools and preschools.

Union rallies were hosted across the state, including at Port Lincoln where about 80 people were in attendance.

Union organiser Jan Murphy led the Port Lincoln rally and reiterated concerns including the possible removal of “the Commitment”.

Ms Murphy said The Commitment guaranteed levels of funding for schools to provide programs for schools as well as employ teachers, student support officers and early childcare workers.

“Without that level of funding being assured, those programs may not go ahead and those people may not be employed,” she said.

State treasurer Rob Lucas said last week the union showed a lack of regard in racing to industrial action and the government was committed to annual school funding to increase by $515 million per year to 2021/22.