Students, teachers and parents are calling for an end to a new system of school supply in a move that will make it harder for teachers to bargain for the best and cheapest school supplies.
Key points:The strike has already forced many public schools to closeThousands of teachers have signed up to join the strikeSchools will now be forced to sell off surplus equipment for teachers and other staffParents and teachers have taken to social media to urge students to get involved in the strikeThe teachers union has warned the new system would put school staff “at the mercy of a single company”The Government is considering imposing a surcharge on some goods, such as uniforms and books, that teachers buy from their school.
The decision has led to a number of schools closing and a strike that has forced many of them to close.
The Government has decided to impose a surfeit levy on goods bought from private vendors, which will force many schools to sell the surplus equipment to staff.
The Department for Education has told the BBC that it is looking at all options, including the imposition of a surfer levy on teachers’ supplies.
But a survey published this week by the Public School Supply Association (PSSA) found that teachers were not buying the equipment needed for the job.
It found that just 17 per cent of teachers said they were using school supplies in their classroom.
It also found that more than 80 per cent were using materials that are cheaper than what is offered by private vendors.
The PSSA has called for a boycott of any school that sells surplus equipment, which would mean all schools would be forced out of business.
“The only way that we can continue to operate our schools and our schools will not be able to operate,” said PSSA general secretary Chris Hetherington.
“This will put teachers at the mercy, not just of a company but of a third party.”
The union says that it has been “working on the ground” with suppliers, and that it had received “over a million” proposals from teachers.
“We’re very, very pleased to see that our members have been willing to take on a strike,” Mr Hetherham told the ABC.
“There’s no way we could afford to close the schools.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said that the Government was looking at the possibility of imposing a new surcharge.
“What’s important is the right balance between providing a level playing field for students and teachers,” she said.
“So we will be working with the unions to discuss that with the PSSA.”
The strike is not the first time that teachers have sought to boycott their schools.
In 2015, the government introduced a surtax on school supplies which caused more than 2,500 schools to shut.
That year, teachers across Australia voted to strike, which forced the Government to adopt the surcharge and force some schools to make concessions.