Victoria could be facing its biggest teachers' strike in September, a first in history.
The Australian Education Union (AEU) has submitted an application with Fair Work Australia on Thursday for a protected action ballot to allow its 7,000 non-teaching support staff to join state school teachers for a 24-hour work stoppage planned for the first week of September.
These non-teaching staff includes administrators, teacher aides, librarians and IT workers.
The potential industrial action is a result of a lengthy pay dispute with the state government, to which the latter said is unfairly called for since it would disrupt not only the education of the students but their families and working parents as well.
AEU officials led by President Mary Bluett said they aim to create more impact on this particular planned mass walkout.
"This would be the first-ever 24-hour stopwork of all people in schools - teacher, principals and support staff," Ms Bluett said. "There will be even more schools closed this time around."
On June 7, 25,000 teachers and principals walked out of their posts, forcing the closure of 207 primary and secondary schools of the state's 1,500 government schools.
"The June 7th walkout was the biggest ever for teachers and principals," Ms Bluett said.
"If support staff were to join the next 24-hour stoppage it would by far outstrip any action that's been taken."
But the state government of Victoria remain concerned with the impending education disruption.
"It will cause enormous problems in the school system,'' an unidentified spokesman for Education Minister Martin Dixon, James Martin, was quoted as saying by The Herald Sun.
He said it is not as if the State Government is not working together with the union to settle the wage dispute.
"The Government does have an offer on the table which is generous and we'd encourage the teachers to come back to the negotiating table."
Teachers demand a 30 per cent pay increase over three years, a reduction of short-term contracts and a career structure. Majority, or 80 per cent of education support staff, meanwhile, receive between $35,847 and $56,023, of which 45 per cent are on short-term contracts.
The State Government counter offer is a 2.5 per cent annual rise with further increases through productivity gains.
"Victoria's public school support staff remain the lowest paid in our schools and receive little or no recognition of their skills, experience and the crucial role they play,'' Ms Bluett said.
The union state council will meet on August 3 to finalise the date the teachers will go on strike in September.
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