South Australian teachers hold strike

The teacher’s strike, scheduled for the first day of the South Australian (SA) semester, has been postponed as a result of negotiations between the state government and the Australian Education Union (AEU).

It supported industrial activities through a full-day outage on February 2, if nearly two-thirds of AEU’s school and preschool teacher members did not address the safety concerns of COVID-19. Later.

Since voting for members last week, the AEU and the Ministry of Education of South Australia (DE) have been deciding whether the proposed new semester measures will make the environment safer for staff and students, the spread of COVID-19, and. Whether they are consistent across all sites.

Progress was made on Tuesday when Professor Nicola Spurrier, SA’s Chief Public Health Director, met again with the AEU. She said the meeting of Prime Minister Stephen Marshall was productive.

“I think they presented us with 18 or 19 requests last week. I think it was narrowed down to three or four,” he said at a press conference Thursday.

According to Marshall, the main problem was the use of rapid antigen testing (RAT) for surveillance tests, but at a meeting on Tuesday, Spurrier could give a false sensation if RAT was not applied correctly. I explained the reason in detail. Of security.

“This is a point-in-time test and is very inaccurate in giving false negatives,” he said.

“We really only accept positives in our system, because if it’s positive, it’s pretty sure positive, so allow it to be considered positive to start the 10 days. increase [isolation].. “

Marshall emphasized that SA’s Chief Public Health Officer, National Chief Health Officer, and Australian Chief Health Protection Commission (AHPPC) do not support the use of RAT for teacher surveillance.

“Teachers have long had concerns. We have worked on most of them, but the use of rapid antigen testing cannot agree with the union,” he said.

Meanwhile, the AEU agreed that the negotiations were constructive and there were discussions on the use of air purifiers, N95 masks, RATs and more. ABC report.

Andrew Goal, AEU SA Chapter Chief, said the situation was better than it was two weeks ago.

“Do you have everything you want to see here? No, but at some point you have to be realistic about this,” he said.

“I think we are happy to convey this move to our members with a commitment to continue in the context of positive conversations with the department.”

Therefore, the AEU will vote a second time to determine if the teacher wants to continue the strike.

“The vote starts tonight and closes tomorrow night by the end of business,” Goal said.

He said it was a quick shift, but the union would do everything in its power to keep members and the community up-to-date.

Marshall, meanwhile, states that current health advice does not support the use of RAT for surveillance testing, but is used by teachers who are in close contact so that they can attend work on a daily basis. ..

In addition, due to the nature of work that requires closer contact with the child, RAT is offered to early childhood teachers.

The state’s new semester plan expects the children of the most vulnerable students and essential workers to return to school on January 31st. Then, on February 2nd, the preschool and reception, and the 1st, 7th, 8th, and 12th years will return, and the other levels will meet on February 14th after 2 weeks of online study. It starts with.

Steve Milne