COLAC and district schools will close today due to a state-wide teacher strike.
Colac, Colac South West and Forrest primary schools will close as teachers in the Australian Education Union push their case for better pay and conditions.
Staff at other Colac and district schools, except Alvie Consolidated School which has no union members, will also take part in the stop-work action.
The AEU wants a 10-per-cent pay increase, while the State Government is offering 2.5 per cent.
Colac Primary School principal Allan Halliwell said he would be the only staff member at school today, with all his teachers away.
Mr Halliwell said teachers were worried about “performance pay” conditions on the bargaining agreement and keeping up with inflation pressures.
Colac West Primary School principal Barrie Speight said the school would have one class.
“Stop work will be very strongly supported at Colac West,” Mr Speight said.
“I think I speak for myself and the branch that the decision is not taken lightly,” he said.
“We believe in quality education – we’ve got some very dedicated people working very hard to provide the best education we can here and I believe very strongly as a principal that they deserve a fair wage.”
Colac Secondary College acting principal Simon Dewar said the AEU would have a rally in Melbourne’s Hisense Arena today.
“Early prediction is it’ll be one of the biggest strike actions that education’s seen,” Mr Dewar said.
“A significant percentage of our staff will be on strike and we will only be running classes for Year Seven students,” he said.
Mr Dewar said the school only had enough staff to have classes for one year level, and it chose Year Seven to help families.
Elliminyt and Beeac primary schools will have fewer staff due to the industrial action.
Lavers Hill K-12 College principal Patrician Nunan said seven of the 10 staff due to work today would go on strike.
Ms Nunan said the college would cancel classes for its secondary students.
“I think we’re all concerned about education for our students in the long-term,” she said.
“That’s what we’re really looking at, as well as looking at staffing conditions and the current agreement we’re being offered.”