Teaching has the potential to be a highly rewarding calling, educating the next generation of children is something many are passionate about. However, long hours, heavy workloads, bullying and harassment sees this passion crushed – as is the reality for wage-labourers of all fields. New teachers find themselves burnt out under the pressure of the job and, as a result, half quit within the first five years of their career. Those who remain are subject to underpaid and overworked conditions, fuelling poor mental and physical health. In extreme cases, these conditions have contributed to heart attacks and suicide attempts.
The disparity in funding between private and public schools continues to rise, with public schools struggling to function with extremely limited resources. The Australian Government pours significant funding into private schools, to the extent that public schools see less government funding on a per-student basis.
On Monday, July 1st 2019, teachers from hundreds of public schools across South Australia will be striking for better pay and working conditions. Following last years half-day strike event, Monday’s strike will be the first of its kind in over a decade.
The South Australian Treasurer has requested for strike action to be delayed to the school holidays, as to cause less disruption. This statement is preposterous, as striking is how the working class enacts what little power it has. Withdrawing labour in order to fight for better pay and conditions is, by its very nature, disruptive.
The limits of fighting within the legal framework of the bourgeois state must be recognised. As such, there is an immediate need for operating outside of unions. Registered unions with their formal ties to the legal system and the state (through their relationship to and support of Australian Labor party) are rendered complicit in strike-breaking laws – despite their symbolic ‘resistance’. Whether it be private sector or public sector, the working class must organise ourselves in preparation for more effective action that goes beyond the bounds of individual sectors and workplaces. By this, we are calling for solidarity strike actions to help unite the entirety of the working class.
We need mass unified action arranged by autonomous strike committees in order to begin to organise for revolutionary action. Such class-wide assemblies give us a glimpse into the organisational vessels required to abolish the class system and establish a community based on the free development and growth of every individual, rather than profits and the exploitation of the majority by the few.
Internationalist Communists Oceania (ICO)
Monday, July 1, 2019