Rallies were held in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) by thousands of public and Catholic school teachers seeking better salaries and working conditions.
A meeting between the executives of the NSW Teachers Federation and the Independent Education Union of Australia (NSW/ACT) resulted in the decision to engage in a 24-hour strike action on June 30, with members of both unions protesting in Macquarie Street, Sydney, and in rural areas around NSW and the ACT.
Teachers in red shirts with the slogan “More than Thanks” called on the government to give them a raise of more than three percent during a demonstration in Sydney’s central business district.
As much as a five to seven percent salary raise is sought by the Teachers’ Union of New South Wales.
“Thanks won’t buy lettuce” and other slogans like these were used by demonstrators to highlight the point that living expenses had skyrocketed.
The NSW Teachers’ Federation and Independent Education Union NSW/ACT, which represent 85,000 teachers, have called for their third walkout in six months.
Just one day before a two-week school holiday, approximately a million families in the state were impacted by the walkout.
For the first time in over two decades, both unions went on a 24-hour strike together. “We have a crisis in the form of a teacher shortage, a crisis that is the government’s own making,” NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said. “The government has known for years the causes of this crisis: uncompetitive salaries and unsustainable workloads.”
Teachers have voted to go on strike, which Education Minister Sarah Mitchell believes is politically motivated.
Most schools will have some kind of supervision, but a few will be closed for the whole day due to weather conditions.
She supported the government’s public sector pay policy, saying it was the most generous in the country.