Approximately 1500 Coffs Coast Teachers Attended Strike Meeting

Approximately 1500 teachers attended the meeting at Brelsford Park.


AN estimated 1500 Coffs Coast teachers supported the first state-wide teachers’ strike in nearly a decade.

Teachers gathered at Brelsford Park last Tuesday to express their dissatisfaction with the government’s refusal to negotiate on wages, demanding #More Than Thanks, the campaign of the NSW Teachers Federation.

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The government has offered a 2.5 percent a year pay rise but the Federation says this is not enough to attract new teachers to the profession.

The Federation acknowledges that the starting salary for teachers is adequate, but that teachers are left behind, compared to other professions, as they gain more experience.

News Of The Area has previously reported on the ‘Valuing the Teaching Profession’ report, commissioned by the Federation, which found that the dedication and commitment of teachers remained high but significant changes in the volume and complexity of their work has led to unsustainable workloads.

One teacher in attendance told News Of The Area, “We are here to support our colleagues and fight for what we and our students deserve.

“There should be trained teachers in front of every class, especially STEM.”

Her colleague said, “We’re passionate about our students and everyone has jumped into dealing with the changes that COVID has brought.

“It’s really difficult to even get a casual to cover a sick day and we are really worried about the future of state schools.”

The NSW Government says its proposed ‘Quality Time Action Plan’ will use technology and digital tools to streamline teaching and administrative tasks to free up teachers’ time for planning and teaching.

When asked about the Quality Time Action Plan, another of the striking teachers called it “nonsense”.

“Technology is a tool but not a solution.

“Nothing beats a teacher in the classroom with passion, commitment and dedication,” he said.

The teachers listened to a number of speakers before marching through the streets of Coffs Harbour.

The mood of the speakers was that teachers will keep fighting.

Deanne Ion, President of the Coffs Harbour Branch of the NSW Teachers Federation, told the crowd, “It’s not what we wanted.”

She said the Government has known about the teacher shortage for years but has done nothing while Government Ministers deny there is a shortage.

Ms Ion said, “If you don’t care about wages and conditions and teacher shortages, you don’t care about students.”


By Andrew VIVIAN

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