Next time: Rod Laver Arena
08 June 2012
Teachers and principals staged their largest-ever strike in Victoria to send a clear message to Ted Baillieu: back down on performance pay, give new teachers security and give public schools a fair deal.
Up to 30,000 teachers stopped work yesterday and around 13,000 rallied in Melbourne, Mildura and Wodonga, filling Hisense Arena to overflowing and voting overwhelmingly for a further program of bans and stopworks.
Mary Bluett told the Hisense Arena rally: "Ted Baillieu, you've heard from the profession, loud and strong. Come back to the negotiating table, deliver your word, deliver your promises. If you don't, we'll be back — not here; we're going to be at Rod Laver Arena."
Rod Laver arena holds 15,000 people — half as many again as the Hisense.
A march to the steps of Parliament brought central Melbourne to a standstill. The tail of the march was still arriving as speeches wrapped up.
Victorian nurses federation president Lisa Fitzpatrick — whose union staged its own long-running EBA dispute with the government this year — offered a message of solidarity at Parliament.
"We stand shoulder to shoulder together. We haven't forgotten the support you gave us and we'll be there for you for the long haul.
"You must ensure that (Baillieu's) promise is delivered. Each and every day we entrust our most precious possession — our children — into your hands, and we thank you for that."
Anger at the rally extended far beyond Baillieu's broken promise to make Victorian teachers the highest paid in Australia.
There was disbelief at the government's plans for payment by results which would divide the profession, concern at the lack of job security for new teachers, and anger at cuts to VCAL, TAFE and education maintenance allowances, all of which are hitting Victoria's most disadvantaged communities.
Recently retired Sunbury Heights PS teacher Jaclynn Jones said: "Baillieu has been very dishonest. Education should be a priority, not treated the way it is by his government. It's a disgrace."