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Teachers strike

Daniel Ancora at teachers rally PICTURE: BARRIER TRUTH

Broken Hill Public school teachers and Catholic school teachers striked on Thursday.

Broken Hill members of the NSW Teachers Federation (NSW TF) and the Independent Education Union of Australia (IEUA) took this industrial action to call for better pay and conditions.

“Marching together will be a massive demonstration of unity and commitment, one profession, one voice,” Mr Angelo Gavrielatos, President NSW TF, said.

The NSW TF and the IEUA want a pay increase that keeps up with inflation and an additional two hours outside the classroom to alleviate some of the workload pressures.

Broken Hill Teachers rallied at the Musicians Club and then walked to the NSW Member for Barwon, Roy Butler’s office where they delivered the following message:

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This strike action is about the kids…they deserve to have a qualified and passionate teacher in front of their class. Teachers in Broken Hill need more people who want to go into the profession. Teachers need less administrative work and more time.

“I hope this strike will bring a better future for our students,” President, Barrier Teachers Association, Jason Bradley said.

Mr Gavrielatos explained that thousands of lessons are not being delivered across NSW because of a lack of teachers.

“We have too many children across NSW missing out every single day because of the teacher shortages. This is a classroom crisis,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

A poll released in May found a substantial number of teachers in Broken Hill thought their workload was unmanageable and 94 per cent of those polled believed the shortages were very significant.

“Willyama High School and Broken Hill High School are both missing permanent staff,” Mr Bradley said.

“There are too many teachers taking on subjects outside their field of expertise because of these shortages. We urgently need more incentives to bring permanent teachers out to Broken Hill,” Mr Bradley said.

Mark Northam, IEUA NSW Branch Secretary explained that the Catholic system schools are rallying to signal their discontent with Catholic employers, who cite the NSW Government pay cap as the reason they have failed to address teachers’ pay.

The NSW Department of Education indicated in May it would consider wages as part of the budget process and the government have offered a 3 per cent pay increase.

Mr Gavrielatos said the budget did nothing to address the crippling workload and has failed to address teacher shortages.

Mr Northam said administrative burdens must be cut, planning time increased and crippling staff shortages must be addressed.

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