Teachers give NSW Premier a month to resolve shortages, salaries and workload issues

In a historic move, NSW Teachers Federation State Council has resolved to defer further industrial action giving the Premier an opportunity to engage in genuine negotiations with the union.

NSW Teachers Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said that as a result of the profound disruption to schooling caused by the COVID Omicron variant, the union has decided to suspend industrial action during Term 1.

This pause and act of good faith provides the NSW Government with an unparalleled opportunity to resolve the matters in contention regarding teachers’ salaries and workload by negotiation and mutual agreement, he said.

This decision will also allow schooling to be as free from further interruption as possible for the remainder of this term. We do this in the interests of our students and their parents who have endured so much over the past two years.

While the union is suspending industrial action during Term 1, the campaign to address the root causes of the teacher shortage, unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive salaries will continue with a deliberate focus on every Government MP.

Federation also reiterates that the solution to the teacher shortage and its causes – as identified in the Government’s own internal secret briefings – unsustainable working conditions and uncompetitive pay cannot be addressed nor resolved in the Industrial Relations Commission.

That the Government is pursuing a new Award that seeks to impose a 2.04 per cent salary cap with no change to the crippling working conditions experienced by the profession for a three-year period is contemptuous. At a time when inflation is running at 3.5 per cent and predicted to grow, this would constitute a cut to teachers’ real income and status of the profession, he said.

Mr Gavrielatos also warned the Premier not to take the Teachers Federation’s deferral of industrial action lightly.

The next State Council meets on 19 March and will assess the outcome of negotiations and determine a course of action as deemed appropriate, he said.

Unless the Government demonstrates that it is serious in providing improvements in working conditions and salary justice by that date, State Council will consider the full suite of options available to it, including the recommencement of industrial action.