Wed. Aug 10th, 2022

Teachers from NSW’s public and Catholic schools will go on strike on Thursday, June 30, over a dispute over pay and staff shortages.

The NSW Teachers Federation and the NSW branch of the Independent Education Union of Australia have announced the historic 24-hour strike action, for the day before the end of term two.

It is the first time the two unions will strike together.

NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said neither the NSW government nor Catholic school employers had done anything to address teacher shortages in schools.

He claimed the government’s internal reports showed it knew why teachers were not being attracted or retained.

“This crisis has been caused because of an industrial relations system and failed education policies which see teachers’ salaries now uncompetitive when compared to other professions and a workload that is simply turning people away from teaching,” he said.

“In five years’ time the shortage will be beyond comprehension.”

He also said the NSW government’s current pay rise offer was unacceptable.

“A 3 per cent increase is an insult. It does not even deal with inflation.”

He said the NSW budget, released today, also failed to alleviate “crippling workloads”.

“Acting on uncompetitive salaries and unsustainable workloads is the only way to stop more teachers leaving and attract the people into the profession we need to fix the shortages.”

The NSW government plans to introduce performance-based pay for teachers, a move the Teachers Federation has long opposed.

Two men wearing suits and ties stand side by side in a park, unsmiling
Angelo Gavrielatos and Mark Northam announced the joint strike on Tuesday.(ABC News: Isaac Nowroozi)

NSW branch secretary of the Independent Education Union of Australia, Mark Northam, said parents had been supportive of strike action in the past.

“We had not one (complaint) when we stopped a couple of Fridays back,” he said.

“Their sons and daughters are telling them what’s going on. They’re missing out and it’s time to fix it up.”

Independent Education Union president Christine Wilkinson said teachers were exhausted, and students were noticing.

“There are no students in year 12 that are wishing to go into teaching, and that is really disappointing,” she said.

“They are looking at other professions.”

Members of both unions will rally in Macquarie Street, in Sydney’s CBD, on June 30, as well as in regional locations across NSW and the ACT.

a woman in glasses speaking
Sarah Mitchell says the strike will just “disrupt families”.(AAP: Dan Himbrechts)

NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said she was really disappointed the unions had chosen to strike, especially on the last day of the financial year.

“Many parents who work in small business I know will certainly feel the impact of this decision,” she said.

She said the government’s offer of a 3 per cent pay rise was “one of the most generous public sector wage policies in the country”.

“We are feeling the pressures in our system but what [a strike] does, is it does not achieve a thing. All it does is disrupt families in the last week of school, “Ms Mitchell said.

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