NSW teachers to strike for better pay

Thousands of NSW teachers are set to go on strike in a bid to increase their pay and reduce their workload.

Schools will remain open on Wednesday and principals have been told to advise what impact the strikes could have on student supervision.

“In some cases schools will provide minimal supervision, which means temporary class structures and a modified timetable are needed to meet safety and supervision requirements,” an education department spokesperson told AAP.


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Teachers will rally outside NSW Parliament House seeking two hours of extra planning time and a pay rise between five and 7.5 per cent to attract and retain workers.

“Government report after government report has stated the main reasons why teachers don’t want to stay in the profession are unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive salaries,” NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said on Tuesday.

Public sector pay increases have been capped at 2.5 per cent per annum for more than a decade.

Premier Dominic Perrottet says that has helped them outstrip private sector pay increases in that time.

The strike comes despite a promise by the NSW government to address public sector wages in the budget on June 21 as it faces industrial action from multiple public sector workforces.

Mr Perrottet and members of his cabinet have blamed the opposition and unions causing havoc for political purposes, while Labor says cost of living pressures are driving demands to increase pay.

Mr Gavrielatos said the promise to address wages was not a guarantee, and teachers had been patient enough with the government in attempts to negotiate since February last year.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell called on the union to halt the strike, directing her department not to push ahead with a 2.04 per cent annual pay rise that was due to go before the Industrial Relations Commission next week.

Other negotiations would continue in the commission but action on wages would be delayed until the budget.

Analysis of the offered wage increase found it would deliver a significant pay cut in real terms with the median teacher losing more than $2000 a year, McKell Institute CEO Michael Buckland said on Tuesday.

“It is reasonable to conclude that such a fall in wages, especially to other professions, would make addressing teacher shortages far more difficult,” Mr Buckland said.

Mr Perrottet acknowledged this week high inflation meant everyone was doing it tough, including the teachers and nurses who are calling for pay rises, and has promised relief.

“If Dominic Perrottet is going to find a way through this crisis with our teachers in the budget, why won’t he announce it now so that this (strike) can be avoided,” opposition education spokeswoman Prue Car said on Tuesday.

Mr Perrottet said the government should be given time to work through the issues and teachers should avoid holding strikes that inconvenience parents and students in the meantime.

© AAP 2022