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Teachers and principals deserve more respect
Federation has condemned the NSW Government’s choice to cap pay increases for public sector workers at 1.5 per cent, calling the decision a reflection of its scant regard for the value of the work of teachers and principals.
President Angelo Gavrielatos said the insulting decision by Treasurer Dominic Perrottet was “bad economics” and cuts to the wages of the NSW public service — the nation’s largest employer — would torpedo any effort to rebuild after the COVID-19 pandemic.
At a press conference updating the COVID situation on Thursday, 20 August, NSW Premier Berejiklian said ‘I think that teaching is one of the most valued occupations on the planet’.
Even Education Minister Sarah Mitchell chimed in on World Teachers’ Day: “It’s been a big year and I cannot thank our teachers enough for their dedication and support for students.”
Mr Gavrielatos countered: “Well, today the Treasurer has quantified that value; it’s zero to 1.5 per cent. That’s how much the teachers and principals of this state are valued by this government.”
He committed Federation to working with Unions NSW and joining them in further action over coming weeks.
Perrottet’s announcement comes as the Gallop inquiry — the ongoing independent commission investigating the value of teachers’ work — has evidence before it that the wages of teachers and principals have declined dramatically over the past decade as a result of the state’s regressive industrial relations policies.
“Teachers and principals need a competitive salary when compared with other, like professions and they deserve a hell of a lot more respect than they’ve been shown today,” Mr Gavrielatos said.
“A competitive salary is particularly important in the context of the 25 per cent student enrolment boom expected over the next 20 years. We need a competitive salary in order for the public education system to attract and retain teachers.”
“This is not the time for austerity and this measure is just that, cutting the wages of workers whose much-needed spending power can create jobs at a time when the economy needs it most.
“It will not lead to growth, it will not lead to jobs and will not lead us out of this recession.”
Mr Gavrielatos said members would not accept the Treasurer’s latest attempt to impose a pay cut on the profession, which hangs TAFE teachers out to dry and will come into effect for school teachers after the current salary agreement.
“TAFE teachers have not had a pay rise since November 2018 despite concluding an agreement with the NSW Government in March 2020, which has not been honoured,” he said.
“Since 2012, courtesy of the NSW Government, TAFE has cut 6000 jobs and reduced the opportunities for young people to gain the skills they need to secure good, well-paying jobs.”
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