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South Coast teachers strike

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Teachers on the South Coast have gone on strike today (Wednesday May 4) due what the Teachers Union say is the worsening teacher shortage and uncompetitive pay and conditions.

The NSW Teachers Federation voted unanimously to go ahead with a 24-hour strike.

Minimal supervision will be in place at public schools across the South East today.

The union has raised serious concerns about teacher shortages with recent figures showing there are 30 vacant teaching  positions in the state electorate of Bega alone.

NSW Teachers Federation Deputy President Henry Rajendra told East Coast Radio, members are calling for better pay and working conditions.

"Teachers are stiking becasue the NSW Government has failed to address critical factors that are contributing to the worsening teacher crisis across NSW," Mr Rajendra said. 

"For the seat of Bega, in excess of 30 unfilled vacancies remain, that means it impacts on the learning of hundreds of students throughout the electorate of Bega and of course impacting on the workloads of teachers because the teachers that are left, are picking up the slack."

The Minister of Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said the government has already provided a 2.5 per cent increase for teachers this year, and the union is now asking for more than nurses and other frontline workers who have all worked tirelessly during the pandemic. 

"The union do not need to interrupt student learning to make an industrial argument. We already have an Industrial Relations Commissions (IRC) process underway, and this is the appropriate place to deal with these issues," Minister Mitchell said. 

"The tactics and threatening approach from this union and their leadership are incredibly disappointing after two years of home learning when respect for the profession has been at an all-time high."

Henry Rajendra, said they have called on the state government to take action for a number of years. 

"We suspended industrial action last term that we originally scheduled however we suspended it to allow the NSW Premier to come and sit down with us and negotiate with the union, a positive way through this, and he has failed to do so."

Premier, Dominic Perrottet, slammed the strike by teachers in a press coference earlier this week.

“We are not going to have our state hostage to union bosses and the Labor Party,” Mr Perrottet said.

“The unions don’t run our schools.”

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