NSW teachers angry at betrayal
NSW teachers have accused the NSW Government of making a "deliberate decision to denigrate and devalue the profession in the Industrial Relations Commission" and have warned that previous agreements must be honoured to ensure there will be no further industrial action. "Teachers are angry that the state government has failed to honour commitments given before and after the last state election", said NSW Teachers' Federation (NSWTF) President Maree O'Halloran, after a meeting of the union's State Council. "The Government is attacking the teaching profession, delaying the salaries case and holding the Industrial Relations Commission to ransom by refusing to make additional money available to fund any increase awarded by the Commission above the 3% per year offered by the Government." The NSWTF has warned that as a consequence teachers may be forced to take further industrial action this year and again next year when schools reopen." The teachers have called on the NSW Government to: 1) Agree to fully fund from Treasury any increase in pay awarded by the Industrial Relations Commission and not reduce some other area of the Public Education Budget to pay for the increase. The State Government has a hefty surplus and can afford to pay. 2) Follow the example set by Catholic school employers and advise the Industrial Relations Commission that they recognise and agree there has been a significant increase in the workload and value of teachers' work. This action would honour the commitment given by the Minister Dr. Refshauge on the May 13, 2003. 3) Keep its promise that a new award will be in place by January 1, 2004 and ensure that pay increases are paid from that date. "The Government's agreement to honour their previous reasonable and sensible commitments would ensure there will be no further industrial action", said Ms O'Halloran.