Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Thousands of teachers walk off the job

Teachers will stop work for two hours from 9am (AEST), in a dispute over staff transfers and the Government's 2.5 per cent pay rise ceiling.

The NSW Teachers Federation has urged 2240 principals to close their schools and has refused to authorise minimal supervision for 750,000 students.

However, Education Department director-general Michael Coutts-Trotter said 88 per cent of schools would remain open during the strike period.

About 250 schools will have no supervision for students, he said.

"Parents have been advised of alternative arrangements by school newsletter or a note home and some schools have placed advice on their websites," he said.

The Government is planning to end the current transfer system, which gives priority for sought-after positions to teachers who have spent time at hard-to-staff schools.

Teachers Federation president Maree O'Halloran said the backlash from today's industrial action was worthwhile if it secured higher pay, retention of the transfer system and proper funding of public schools.

"When you take industrial action you could get the community offside," she said.

"But when you're dealing with the type of government we've got, it seems that nothing other than a crisis makes them listen.

"For these two hours they (the students) won't have lessons.

"But if the State Government doesn't start funding schools and TAFE colleges properly, doesn't start paying teachers properly and doesn't put the transfer system back in place there will be lots of schools who don't have enough teachers."

Ms O'Halloran would not comment on the possibility of future industrial action, saying the federation had successfully negotiated with the department in the past.

No comments: