Union calls for government to negotiate over wages and workload

The NSW Teachers Federation today called for the Perrottet Government to abandon plans to deliver a real wage cut to all teachers in light of the premier’s latest idea to significantly lift the salary of top teachers.

NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said the government should not proceed with its plan to impose a new three year salaries award on the profession in the Industrial Relations Commission on October 12.

On one hand the government wants to deliver a real wage cut to every teacher by locking in a pay rise of 2.53% a year for three years, at the same time as inflation is running at 6.1% a year, Mr Gavrielatos said.

On the other hand the Premier is saying top teachers should be paid a lot more. In June he said he wanted performance pay and now he says he doesn’t want performance pay.

The fact that the Premier can’t say who would get more money, how that would be determined and how much extra they would be paid suggests this is little more than a thought bubble from the Premier.

The government’s own research shows the real problem is the uncompetitive salaries of all teachers. An internal Department of Education report states:

On average teacher pay has been falling relative to pay in other professions since the late 1980s and this makes it a less attractive profession for high achieving students. Other career options are more attractive and salaries more competitive, particularly for high achievers.

There is a teacher shortage crisis in schools right now with the number of vacant positions 67% higher than last year. A staggering 60% of teachers are looking to leave in the next five years.

We need a comprehensive plan that address uncompetitive salaries and unsustainable workloads to stop the shortages and secure the teachers we need for the future. What we don’t need is a new idea every day, untrained teachers and expensive recruiting experiments that deliver two teachers a year.

Reducing the crippling workload of teachers is an essential part of the solution. The Premier has said he wants to slash administration workloads and yet the best he can come up with is reducing a 60 hour week to a 59 hour week and giving one in ten schools a new admin person.”