Teachers and principals are walking off the job after failed talks with the NSW government that dragged out over 18 months.
NSW teachers and principals are taking strike action over an ongoing pay dispute with the state government.
Staff will walk off the job for 24 hours on Tuesday amid concerns about a 2.5 per cent salary cap that has been in place for a decade and severe teacher shortages.
NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said the number of vacant permanent teaching positions had increased to more than 3000 in mid-November.
He said even excluding 1037 new positions, there were 2001 vacant positions – more than double the 995 recorded in June.
But he said the state government had made no effort to address unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive salaries.
“Teachers and principals from the inner west to the far west are telling us they just can’t find the full-time and casual teachers they need,” he said.
“In western and southwestern Sydney, where student needs are the highest, the vacancy rates are also the highest.
“The NSW government is concerned about children missing out for one day, but we are concerned about children missing out every day because there simply aren’t enough teachers.”
The Education Department has indicated most schools will remain open on Tuesday, with supervision available for students.
If the state government did not pay teachers “what they are worth”, they would not get the teachers they need, Mr Gavrielatos warned.
“The workloads of teachers are unmanageable and the government’s 10-year wages cap means the salary they earn doesn’t reflect the skills or responsibilities they have,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the only action the NSW government is prepared to take is legal action to try and stop teachers and principals protesting over salaries and workloads.”
The last time NSW teachers held a mass walkout was in 2011, and they were joined by nurses, firefighters and police.
The action was deemed illegal by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission, and the teachers’ union was fined $6000.
Originally published as NSW teachers take strike action over pay dispute with state government