NSW teachers set to strike next week

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Teachers are planning to strike across New South Wales after the state budget failed to deliver a better pay offer. -AAP Picture

Thousands of NSW teachers will strike next week after the state budget failed to deliver an improved pay offer.

Unions representing state and Catholic school teachers met on Tuesday when the NSW budget was delivered, announcing they would strike for 24 hours on June 30.

“The government has failed students and continues to fail students and the teaching profession,” said NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos.

It comes after the two teaching unions gave Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet an ultimatum to improve the proposed 3% pay deal in the next financial year.

Tuesday’s budget documents revealed no other offers were on the table.

“Each day, teachers and principals have been further burdened by their workloads and the stress associated with teacher shortages.

“This teacher shortage has been brewing for 10 years.

“What we got from this government was denial, manipulation, gimmicks, anything but dealing with this crisis,” Gavrielatos said.

Independent Education Union NSW/ACT secretary Mark Northam said the government’s inaction on the teacher shortage had left the Catholic school system in deep trouble.

Catholic schools in inner cities like North Sydney and Canberra were struggling to recruit teachers.

“If you’re sharing classes, standing in the doorway between classes, having multiple classes in school hallways, teaching and learning have been compromised,” he said.

“The sons and daughters (of our parents) tell them what is going on and how they are missing.”

The new policy confirmed in the budget on Tuesday includes a 3% wage increase in each of the next two fiscal years, with an additional 0.5% the following fiscal year for workers who make a “substantial contribution to reforms aimed at improving the productivity”.

This allows for a possible increase of 6.5% over the period.

Public sector workers say this is translating into a reduction in real wages, with inflation at 5.2% and expected to tip over to over 7%.

“The fact that we met is a testament to the crisis we find ourselves in,” Gavrielatos added.

Members of both unions will rally outside parliament in Sydney as well as regional towns in NSW and the ACT.

Treasurer Matt Kean said keeping salaries competitive is important to attracting and retaining top talent.

“In the context of a strong and growing economy, this two-year wage increase is an affordable and sensible policy,” he said.

The budget also extended paid parental leave to 14 weeks for public sector workers, including teachers.

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