Joint Strike Action By Mid North Coast Teachers

More than 600 teachers rallied in Coffs Harbour.

FOR the second time in as many months, public school teachers rallied to protest the NSW Government’s lack of action over their concerns.

This time, last Thursday, 30 June, they were joined by colleagues from Catholic schools, who also feel disillusioned and overwhelmed by teacher shortages, working conditions and pay that does not keep pace with inflation.

While the Minister for Education and Early Learning, Sarah Mitchell, has said that strike action would be disruptive to families and students, the NSW Teachers Federation said that having students without regular teachers in front of their classes is far more disruptive.

The Minister has also said that the NSW Government’s offer of a three percent pay increase is the most generous in the country, but the Federation describes it as an “insult” that is below inflation.

The regional coordinator for the Federation, Ian Watson, told News Of The Area that 600 to 700 teachers rallied in Coffs Harbour, with approximately another 500 taking action in Port Macquarie.

Approximately 30 percent of the teachers were from Catholic schools and more than one hundred schools were represented across the Mid North Coast.

Mr Watson said, “Before the budget, the Premier said he didn’t want any public sector wages to fall behind because of inflation and he understood teacher concerns about staffing shortages.

“However, the promised three percent offer is not going to address these issues and nothing has been said about solving workload issues.

“These are issues affecting all schools.”

Mr Watson said the strike was to point out the continued inaction of the Government.

“We have students every day on the Coffs Coast who are missing out on being taught by a properly qualified teacher.”

Mr Watson said the message from the rally is that, if students continue to miss out, action will continue right through until the state election.

By Andrew VIVIAN

Teachers say that the issues are as much about students as much as teachers. Photo: NSW Teachers Federation.

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