The 24-hour teachers’ strike saw swarms of people marching through Sydney’s CBD this morning, from Hyde Park to Houses of Parliament in Macquarie Street to protest against an annual pay rise of more than 2.5%.
The rally demanded a pay raise of between 5 and 7.5 percent as well as extra planning time for classes.
Members of the Teachers’ Federation rejected an eleventh-hour government offer hinting at a pay rise and instead decided to continue the strike.
President Angelo Gavrielatos said the situation had become “unsustainable”.
“More than 70% of teachers say they are considering options other than teaching,” Gavrielatos said.
The state education department listed 209 schools as “not functioning” and parents were told to keep children home due to the strike.
“It’s really frustrating. The last thing I want to see is disrupting students and families,” Ms Mitchell told Today.
Ms Mitchell said the state government was continuing negotiations with the NSW Teachers Federation and had been doing so for months, but the industrial action would not achieve the desired result.
Unions of several essential workers, including paramedics, nurses and teachers, have staged ongoing strikes this year in a campaign against the state’s public sector wage cap, which limits annual wage increases to $2. .5%.
While under pressure over the cap, Mr Perrottet repeatedly said he was trying to “balance” the budget.
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An Industrial Relations Board hearing that would have blocked a 2.04% pay rise for teachers this year has been pushed back after the budget, to give the prime minister a chance to review his pay policy.
“I cannot guarantee you that the decision we will arrive at will satisfy the concerns and problems of the Teachers’ Federation,” Mr Perrottet said.