Frustrated Teachers Federation members have rallied outside Port Macquarie MP Leslie Williams' office as part of a state-wide action on working conditions.
Representatives met on March 10 to highlight the worsening teacher shortages in the electorate as well as call on Mrs Williams to support the union's efforts to improve teacher pay and workload conditions.
Teachers Federation senior vice president Amber Flohm said around 50 teachers met in Port Macquarie on Thursday (March 10) morning.
"Teachers are angry and frustrated over staff shortages. They want action and it needs to be resolved by the government to make sure that every child has a qualified teacher in the classroom," she said.
"There were over 50 representatives from the Port Macquarie electorate that attended the rally. We need the government to invest in teachers and schools."
At its February State Council meeting, NSW Teachers Federation resolved to defer further industrial action until March 19 to give the Premier and the NSW Government an opportunity to engage in negotiations with the union.
"While the union is suspending industrial action during Term 1, the campaign to address the root causes of the teacher shortage, unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive salaries will continue with a deliberate focus on every Government MP," Ms Flohm said.
"That the Government is pursuing a new Award that seeks to impose a 2.04 per cent salary cap with no change to the crippling working conditions experienced by the profession for a three-year period is contemptuous.
"Unless the Government demonstrates that it is serious in providing improvements in working conditions and salary justice by mid-March, then the federation will consider the full suite of options available to it, including the recommencement of industrial action."
Mrs Williams said NSW public school teacher salaries are competitive with those offered by other state education systems.
"Over the last 11 years the classroom teacher salary at the top of the scale has increased by $25,219 which represents a 29.75 per cent increase from the 2011 salary," she said.
"The Department acted to deliver an increase in remuneration of 2.5 per cent (comprised of a 2.04 per cent salary increase and 0.5 per cent increase to the Superannuation Guarantee Contribution (SGC)) from the start of 2022 ensuring teachers and related employees did not miss out on a salary increase pending the outcome of the arbitration in May 2022.
"As at January 2022, teachers accredited as highly accomplished or lead earn up to $117,060, school executive positions earn up to $147,776 and principals earn up to $194,816. In addition, the Department of Education offers attractive leave conditions and a range of other financial incentives to teachers.
"In 2021 the Department filled almost 6,400 permanent teaching positions."
Mrs Williams said the government remains on track to deliver its 2019 commitment to recruit an additional 4,600 teachers over four years, with more than 3,450 additional teachers already recruited.
"We are also in the second round of our new FASTstream program, which accelerates high quality teachers and graduates to leadership positions through placements in regional schools," she said.
"The Department is also committed to reducing the administrative burden for principals, teachers and support staff to reduce their workload and free up time for learning and professional development."
Excluding the new assistant principal of curriculum and implementation positions, Mrs Williams said the vacancy rate hovers at around two per cent.
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