Thousands of local school teachers aren’t turning up to work today, instead they’ll be marching in Civic Park in Newcastle.
For the first time in more than two decades public and Catholic school teachers will strike together.
The Teachers Federation and the Independent Education Union are taking the action over pay disputes, under staffing and working conditions.
In the NSW Budget last week, the NSW Government offered a pay increase of 3 per cent but teachers rejected that offer calling for a between five and 7.5 per cent pay increase.
Teachers say they are overworked and underpaid.
NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said there is a serious and significant teacher shortage across the state.
“We are in a crisis already, a teacher shortage crisis. Last week tabled in parliament were the latest figures which show there are 1,906 teacher vacancies across NSW, that is 67 per cent up on the same period last year,” he said.
“The government can try all it likes to deny the facts but the facts speak for themselves.”
“Every day hundreds of classes are being interrupted, every day thousands of students are having their lessons and learning interrupted, their futures on the line.”
Angelo Gavrielatos said the schools are also going to feel the impacts of a 30 per cent drop between 2013 and 2019 of people wanting to actually pursue a teaching career.
“The government seems to be more focused on taking action aimed at silencing teachers and principals rather than taking the action that’s required in order to address the crisis that is of its own making,” he said.
“Thousands of kids are going home every afternoon telling their parents about how many lessons they missed out on because of the teacher shortage.”
There may be limited supervision at schools in the Hunter today, but otherwise there will be no teachers at all.