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‘Act reasonably’: NSW Premier hits back at planned teachers strike

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New South Wales public and Catholic school teachers are set to stage a historic joint 24-hour strike on June 30 and rally in Macquarie Street in Sydney.

It comes as the NSW state budget was handed down on Tuesday and public sector employees only received a three per cent pay rise despite the union’s ongoing calls for a five per cent increase and two more hours of planning time each week.

The action was agreed to by the NSW Teachers Federation (NTF) and the Independent Education Union (IEU) on Tuesday in response to escalating anger across the profession over staff shortages, crippling workloads and uncompetitive salaries.

It has been more than two decades since the NTF and the IEU have taken joint action.

“This action speaks to the crisis in which we find ourselves,” NTF President, Angelo Gavrielatos, said. “Both unions have come to the conclusion that the government has its head in the sand in regards to the teacher crisis.”

Just this morning, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet appeared on ABC’s Radio National, and urged teachers to “act reasonably in difficult economic times.”

“A three per cent wage increase is the highest increase across any state or territory in the country. We’ve led the way on wages and have come up with something that’s fair and reasonable,” Perrottet said, citing Victoria’s 1 per cent wage increase.

“The reality is that most people across our state will not be having pay increases. The wage bills for public service workers are paid for by the taxpayers of NSW who are also doing it tough.”

Photo: NSW Teachers Federation

June 30 will be the third time the state’s public school teachers have voted to strike in just over six months, and the second time NSW and ACT Catholic diocesan schools have voted to take industrial action this year.

NSW Education Minister, Sarah Mitchell, also said it was disappointing the unions had chosen to take industrial action, and it would serve “no purpose” other than to disrupt families and students in the last week of term.

SOURCE: Sydney Morning Herald

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