The New South Wales Council meeting
300 delegates at the New South Wales Council of the Australian Teachers Federation voted on Saturday to take action against changes to the school staffing system.
The delegates voted for a two hour stoppage on April 8th so that meetings could be held where the changes would be explained to members. At the meetings a recommendation for a 24 hour state wide stoppage would be put as well as for further strikes.The changes are similar to those which have happened in Victoria - where teacheers are also taking action at the moment - which have led to teachers at the top of the scale being paid $11,000 less than their NSW counterparts and to many more of them being on temporary contracts. The measures would set the scene for the devolution of salaries to schools, performance related pay, individual contracts and powers for principals to hire and fire. In Western Australia where teachers are also in dispute, these measures have had to be rolled back because of an extensive teacher shortage which has led to private recruitment firms being paid $10,000 for every teacher supplied.
Teachers in NSW understand that the dispute is about the right of all pupils to be taught by a properly qualified teacher, the defence of teachers' working conditions and salaries and the fight to ensure that all public schools are properly funded and staffed.
The failure of the minister for education to respond to the unions' plan to end the current staffing dispute has led the council to make the call for the 8th April stoppage.