Teachers' Rally in Melbourne last June Teachers, principals and school support staff in Victoria, Australia are to go on strike next month The strike is the latest stage in the campaign to defend education against another round of cuts by the state government. For the first time, education support staff are joining the strike - not least because 43% of them are on temporary contracts. This is one of the major issues being addressed by the union's action, together with class size, salaries and workload. The teachers are already engaged in no-cover action - refusing to cover for absent colleagues - and instead demanding that the state pays up for relief teachers. President of the the Victorian branch of the Australian Education Union (AEU) said: “Teachers and support staff save this cynical government millions of dollars every year, but Ted Baillieu just wants to turn the screw further. He seems to think teachers aren’t working hard enough, when we have one of the longest school years and highest number of teaching hours in the OECD. And on top of that he expects our members to fill in for colleagues that the government refuses to replace.We’ve introduced this ban because our members’ working conditions are also our students’ learning conditions. Grade-splitting and extras do not benefit students — they only benefit the department’s bottom line.” Now the teachers are planning the state's biggest ever school strike on September 5th.