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Why Are Teachers Striking Across New South Wales?

Why Are Teachers Striking Across New South Wales?

Tens of thousands of teachers have recently walked off the job demanding better pay.

Tens of thousands of teachers and their supporters have taken to the streets in Sydney and across New South Wales to express their dissatisfaction with their pay and working conditions.

The third strike in seven months, protesters are especially displeased with the recent announcement by NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet that the public sector wage cap would be increased from 2.5 per cent to 3 per cent.

Teachers unions claim that the government’s offer fails to keep up with inflation and is not enough to incentivise the job growth necessary to fill the 2,000 staff vacancies across the state.

In response, NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell has said she is 'disappointed with the action' and believes the unions are politicising negotiations instead of accepting 'the most generous pay increase on the table of anywhere in the country'.

The strike was organised by the NSW Teachers Federation and NSW Independent Education Union, making it a joint effort across both the public and private school sectors. 

These unions represent 85,000 teachers across NSW and the ACT and the strike action will affect around a million families across the state.

This uptick in strike action from teachers comes at a time when the pandemic has exacerbated levels of stress and uncertainty among teachers specifically, while also contributing to a cost of living crisis that has made subsistence more difficult across the board.

Even before the pandemic, Australian teachers were reported as working some of the longest hours in the world, with many of these hours spent not on teaching but doing administration and work outside the classroom.

One teacher stated in an open letter that teachers were forced to balance an unsustainable number of different tasks and constantly learn new systems of compliance and technology.

They argued that this is leaving many unable to maintain proper levels of passion and satisfaction.

The NSW State Government has not budged on their offer, so future strikes remain a distinct possibility.

Featured Image Credit: Channel 10

Topics: Australia