Australian teachers put strike on hold

KYM AGIUS
Last updated 14:01 03/10/2012

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The Queensland Teachers' Union (QTU) has put state-wide strike action on hold, saying its members should accept a new government pay offer.

Under the deal, announced today, teachers will get an extra 2.7 per cent a year, over the next three years.

The deal also includes continuing commitments to class size targets and the remote area incentive scheme, Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said in a statement.

The QTU has given the deal in principle support and says it will now be put to a ballot.

QTU president Kevin Bates told AAP a strike that would have involved tens of thousands of teachers on October 16 has been put off until the result of the ballot is known.

Bates said the government had agreed to retain 20 conditions, including ones related to class sizes, the remote area incentive scheme and the teacher transfer system.

But he said the union did not view the deal as a victory.

"The reality here is that the outcome protects things that we already had," he said.

"When you look at this, there have not been significant gains by the government or the union."

Premier Campbell Newman said QTU senior officials had endorsed a new agreement in principle, and the deal was a win for teachers, parents and students.

The offer will be put to a state-wide ballot of teachers and backdated to September 1, 2012, once certified, Newman said.

He said that over the past six months, his government had secured wage agreements with nurses, salaried doctors and now teachers.

"I am hopeful a similar reasonable and responsible outcome can be reached with the unions representing firefighters and emergency service workers," the premier said.

Unions must recognise that wage rises of 2.2 to 2.7 per cent are "generous" at a time when inflation is running at 1.2 per cent, Newman said.

Langbroek said the outcome was the result of three months of intense negotiations since the last enterprise bargaining agreement expired at the end of June.

"Despite the difficult financial circumstances we were left by Labor, the Newman government has been able to provide a fair pay increase to Queensland's hard-working teachers," he said.

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- AAP

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