Teachers to strike over workload, salaries, and shortages

Public school teachers and principals will strike on Tuesday December 7 over the Government’s failure to address unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive salaries which are contributing to growing shortages of teachers.

Federation Council voted unanimously for the 24 hour stoppage at a meeting in Sydney today.

The decision states: “Council determines, following state-wide delegates meetings at which the Government’s insistence on the maintenance of the contemptuous 2.5% wages cap and refusal to budge on crippling workloads was roundly condemned and rejected, there is no other option but to escalate our campaign to achieve the pay and conditions teachers and principals deserve, and the profession and students need.”

Read the full council decision here.

Members from greater Sydney, Newcastle, the Central Coast, Wollongong, the Southern Highlands and the Blue Mountains will rally outside Parliament House in Macquarie St, Sydney.

All other members will rally at designated regional centres across the state.

Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said the union had exhausted all options over an 18 month period to persuade the Government to redress the decline in salaries and working conditions that are contributing to teacher shortages and reducing the attractiveness of the profession.

Those efforts including the commissioning of the independent Gallop inquiry, repeated lobbying of state MPs and an unprecedented paid advertising campaign.

Mr Gavrielatos said the resolution of the dispute was now in the hands of the Premier Dominic Perrottet.

“The Perrottet Government is refusing to listen to the warnings of its own education department that unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive salaries of teachers are contributing to growing shortages and turning people off teaching,” he said.

“This is about the future of the teaching profession and the quality of education children receive. No student should miss out because of a lack of teachers, but this is what is going to increasingly happen across NSW if the Government fails to act.

“The Government’s position has been fixed from day 1. They won’t budge from a one-size-fits- all 2.5% wages cap despite their own education department’s warning that teacher shortages exist because other careers pay more competitive salaries.

“Every year teachers have been asked to do more and every year their salary has fallen compared to other professions.

“The Perrottet Government won’t increase the preparation time of all teachers despite their own survey showing only one third of teachers have the time to do their job well. The time teachers have for planning and preparation outside the classroom hasn’t increased since the 1980s for primary teachers and the 1950s for secondary teachers.

“The number of vacant permanent positions in schools has increased by 80% since June and the Education Minister was warned in July that NSW is facing “a large and growing shortage of teachers”.

Members who require additional information about the strike and rally locations should contact their school Federation Representative or local organiser.

Why we must take this action – the latest President writes column.