The Guardian April 19, 2000


NSW teachers vote on industrial action

At stopwork meetings throughout NSW on Friday April 14, teachers 
overwhelmingly endorsed the negotiating stance of their union and voted in 
favour of a 24-hour strike on Thursday May 4.

More than 20,000 teachers attended the meetings and endorsed the 
recommendations from the Executive of the NSW Teachers' Federation (NSWTF).

With 19,671 voting in favour, 842 against and 330 abstentions, the meetings 
sent a clear message to the Carr Labor Government.

The membership indicated that they are prepared to accept the proposed pay 
rates and the date of payment but only if the unacceptable strings attached 
to the pay increases are removed.

Those aspects of the Government's offer which the membership found 
unacceptable and which stand in the way of a settlement are:

* genuine pay equity provisions for casual school and TAFE part-time 
teachers;

* school and TAFE teacher entitlements and the need for teacher agreement 
for working outside the normal span of hours of school;

* the circumstances under which TAFE teachers could teach in schools and 
school teachers could teach in TAFE;

* the exercise of teacher professional judgement on matters of teacher, 
school and system accountability;

* maintenance of current workloads for TAFE teachers and recognising that 
Annual Student Contact Hours targets are not a basis for quality education 
provision;

* acceptable provisions regarding staffing formulae, resourcing and working 
conditions in collegiate groups;

* ensuring that TAFE teachers at the top of the incremental scale are not 
disadvantaged;

* the duration and the final form of settlement of any agreement.

"The Teachers' Federation is ready to continue negotiations over the school 
holidays with the hope of reaching a settlement before the commencement of 
second term", said NSWTF President Sue Simpson.

"If a settlement is not reached by then teachers have declared their 
willingness to withdraw their goodwill and will only complete work 
associated with their `normal' time-tabled class through preparation, 
delivery, marking and feedback. Only compulsory excursions to meet syllabus 
requirements will take place....

"While we hope that the withdrawal of goodwill and industrial action will 
be unnecessary, the membership has spoken very clearly."

The Federation points to the example of the Independent Education Union's 
agreement with their Catholic employers, where the offensive demands for 
diabolical changes to wages and conditions were excluded from the 
agreement.

"The IEU expresses deep regret that the NSW Government continues to demand 
unacceptable pre-conditions from the Federation and its members before it 
will settle on a similar comprehensive package", said a statement by the 
IEU General Secretary, Dick Shearman.

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