More than 170 schools across South Australia will remain closed on Thursday, as teachers strike over a pay dispute with the government for the second time in two months.

The Australian Education Union (AEU) is calling for an 8.6 per cent pay rise in the first year of the new agreement, followed by 5.5 per cent in subsequent years.

The state’s public school teachers have been caught in the pay dispute with the government for months.

On Monday the South Australian government instead made an offer of a 4 per cent increase in the first year, followed by 3 and 2.5 per cent in subsequent years, which the AEU called “the same as, if not worse, than the last”.

The government’s revised pay and conditions offer followed its previous proposition in September of 3 per cent over three years, sparking teacher strikes that forced the closures of hundreds of schools.

The snap rally was announced following the government’s offer and began at 11.30am ACDT outside the Department for Education in Adelaide.

It falls within the state’s year 12 exams period, SACE, which runs from mid-October to November 17.

“Since taking industrial action in September, we have been negotiating with the government and expected today’s offer to reflect those discussions,” the AEU said in a statement.

“It is disappointing to see such contempt.

“Today is not just about one enterprise agreement, it’s about the future of public education in South Australia.”

The union accused the Malinauskas government of “playing politics” by failing to invest in the state’s public education.

“Despite what the government says, Monday’s offer leaves the vast majority of educators worse off than the previous offer,” the AEU said.

“Shamefully, it disproportionately disadvantages support staff who work with our most vulnerable students.

“Every day in South Australia, thousands of students are going without a consistent teacher.

“We are focused on solving the urgent and pressing challenges facing our public education system.”

Prior to the AEU’s Monday announcement that it would strike, Education Minister Blair Boyer told the ABC that the government did not expect Thursday’s industrial action to go ahead, given the “improved offer” made to the union.

“We’ve met the deadline, it’s clearly an improved offer – by a lot of money — so, on that basis, if the union’s true to their word, there won’t be a strike on Thursday.

“The ball’s in their court.

“Certainly, I don’t think strike action on Thursday will further the union’s case at all – in fact, I think the opposite is true.”

Year 12 SACE exams are expected to proceed as planned.

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