There are mounting concerns over the possibility of a major teachers strike in NSW following what the union calls “an act of betrayal” by the Minns Government.
The NSW Teachers Federation says the government “walked away” from a deal that would have seen starting teachers’ salary increase by nearly $10,000, and the maximum teaching salary increase by about $9,000.
Instead, the NSW Government offered an “inferior” four-year award that would introduce a 2.5% cap on pay increases.
The union is now warning of an “escalation of action” in September if the government continues to refuse to honour the agreement.
“The teacher shortage in NSW is getting worse and the Government must address it by reviving and honouring the agreement it had to pay teachers what they are worth,” Acting Federation president Henry Rajendra told The Educator.
“Lifting wages for the first year but then clawing that back by paying less then inflation for the subsequent three is counter-productive and demoralising. It will aggravate the teacher shortage, and short-change our kids.”
However, Rajendra said the union remains confident that the Government “wants to do the right thing” and hopeful the impasse can be resolved.
A spokesperson for Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car rejected the union’s claims of betrayal, saying the government has offered teachers “a generous front-loaded deal”.
“Under the previous Liberal National Government, NSW teachers became among the worst paid in Australia and have been leaving the profession in droves. This cannot continue,” the spokesperson told The Educator.
“We were elected with a mandate to improve teachers’ pay and conditions, and we intend to do that as soon as we possibly can. We have offered teachers a generous front-loaded deal that would give them a significant uplift in the first year with more modest increases in the years that follow.”
The spokesperson said government has negotiated “a good deal in good faith that would make a real impact on teachers lives and careers”.
“It is one step in this government’s plan to turn around the teacher shortage and improve NSW public schools,” the spokesperson said. “We urge the Teachers Federation to properly inform members of the full extent of the uplift it would give teachers over the four years.”