Two-hundred teachers in Broken Hill assembled at the Barrier Industrial Councils Trades Hall on Tuesday to get the message across loud and clear they are overwhelmed, overworked and underpaid.
“Teachers are out in force to get the message across to the State Government that we need action,” said Western NSW Teachers Federation organiser Brett Bertalli.
80 percent of Broken Hill teachers struck, and 70 percent of local schools were nonoperational he said.
With less teachers in the state, it will be harder to get teachers in Broken Hill which means more split classes and poorer education for the students no matter how hard our teachers try a local teachers federation representative said.
The local union representative added “There are too few hours to prepare classes, too much red tape, and administration. Teachers’ release from class conditions have not changed since the 1980s for primary schools the 1950s for high schools but their responsibilities have.”
“100s of teachers are resigning not because they are 65 but because they can’t take the strain anymore,” said Mr Bertalli.
NSW is facing plummeting new graduate numbers, rising enrolments, and an ageing workforce according to the Teacher Federation of NSW.
“The situation is so bad the education department warned last year NSW could run out of teachers in five years,” Teachers Federation President Angelo .
Governments have failed to address unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive salaries which are contributing to growing shortages of teachers he said.
“Principals and teachers don’t take this decision lightly. Over the course of the last 18 months, we have exhausted all options available to us to arrive at a negotiated settlement with the government,” Mr Gavrielatos said.
The industrial award that determines the salaries and conditions of teachers expires in December.
In line with the recommendations of the independent Gallop inquiry, teachers and principals are seeking a salary increase of between five to seven point five per cent a year to recognise the increase in their skills and expertise and begin to reverse the decline in teachers’ wages compared to other professions he said.