Members unite over unjust wages transition

NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell and her government colleagues from around the state have been hearing from Federation members that teachers want an immediate resolution to the standards-based pay inequalities for teachers in public schools, created by the NSW Government’s public sector wages policy.

Divergences in salary have affected a cohort of teachers who commenced work with the Department in the years immediately prior to 2016. Some teachers with greater service are receiving less remuneration than co-workers due to the shift from the common incremental scale to standards-based remuneration.

During the union’s Pre-2016 Teachers’ Pay Inequity Week of Action, held from 12-16 August, members expressed their solidarity with affected teachers by holding meetings that passed resolutions in support of their colleagues.

At the time of publication, almost 50 meetings with local MPs had also taken place with an additional 30 being planned for the week immediately following the Week of Action.

During visits to politicians from all major parties, and in Federation meetings, members focused on particular elements of the NSW Government’s public sector wages policy, including that financial anomalies faced by pre-2016 teachers are not imposed on employees working in non-government schools.

On numerous occasions prior to the Week of Action, Federation had attempted to resolve issues in the transition to standards-based pay through discussions with the NSW Department of Education. The Department reiterated to the Federation that the issues cannot be addressed without penalising all public school teachers through lower salaries due to the NSW Government’s public sector wages policy.

Recruitment and retention of teachers to the public education system is at a significant disadvantage as a consequence of this situation. The NSW Government has the capacity to resolve this issue. Both the Minister and the NSW Government should be supporting teachers in public education by attending to this matter without further delay.

In July, Federation’s Annual Conference also demanded an equitable resolution to the anomaly.

— Jason Gerke, Editor