Teachers call strike
Monday, 5th September, 2011
By Andrew Robertson
Parents have been urged not to send their children to school on Thursday as a show of support for teachers who are striking over public-sector wage restrictions.
Teachers employed at Broken Hill’s public schools will join their colleagues across the state and walk off the job for 24 hours to protest against the government’s 2.5 per cent wage cap.
While NSW Treasurer Mike Baird has said the planned strike is an “extreme response to a reasonable policy”, the Barrier Teachers’ Association said public sector workers would continue to take industrial action until the government overturned its legislation.
“It’s not a reasonable policy at all when the government attacks its own workers and particularly the conditions of their own workers,” president Maureen Clarke said.
She said there was nothing fair about legislation that prevented public sector workers from taking their wage claims to the Industrial Relations Commission.
“It also gives the Premier unprecedented powers to take back conditions that public sector workers have gained over time.
“It is this attack on conditions of workers and the potential to create extra work load and adversely affect quality of service provided by public sector workers.”
Mrs Clarke said the conditions of public sector workers had a direct correlation to the service they provided.
“If you increase the patient to nurse ratio the patient suffers. If you increase the size of classes you affect the service to the children that we teach and also the school community.
“We would be hoping parents would support teachers in their action to obtain some form of justice by keeping children at home and schools will be notifying patents about the arrangements at their particular school.”
The government had the potential to harm workers and the community, according to Mrs Clarke, who said public sector workers are so angry that they were prepared to take action.
Teachers Federation Organiser, Brett Bertalli said members would join with fire fighters, nurses, police and other public sector workers to attend public sector rallies across NSW on Thursday.
“These changes not only attack the wages and conditions of public service workers but will also undermine the delivery of public services to the Broken Hill community,” Mr Bertalli said.
“Teachers of Broken Hill feel compelled to take this action to defend current working conditions that attract and retain quality teachers to our town.”