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Teachers defy strike order

Thursday, 8th September, 2011

 Local public school teachers will strike today despite an Industrial Relations Commission direction ordering them to abandon their planned 24-hour stoppage.

 Justice Frances Backman made an order shortly before 2.30pm yesterday which means the Teachers Federation could be penalised if their members strike and teachers risk being fined if they ignore the IRC’s order.

 But the union’s NSW president, Bob Lipscombe, said public school teachers would walk out as planned.

 “Teachers cannot stand by and allow their salaries and working conditions to be cut by unjust laws,” Mr Lipscome said.

 Broken Hill nurses, police, firefighters and other public sector workers will join teachers at a rally in the Town Square at noon to protest against the Government’s changes to the NSW IRC Act.

 Most of the city’s TAFE teachers will also attend the rally, according to TAFE Teachers Association representative to the Teacher’s Federation, Jim Nolan.

 “Reducing the working conditions of teachers is reducing learning conditions for students,” Mr Nolan said yesterday.

 “This means the students get a raw deal.”

 He said all TAFE teachers who were members of the association would be joining the strike.

 NSW Education minister Adrian Piccoli warned the Teachers Federation that pushing ahead with the strike would be illegal.

 “The IRC has made an order today ... I would certainly hope that the Teachers Federation would listen and take heed of the orders made by the IRC,” he said.

 But Teachers Federation Organiser for the Western Region, Brett Bertalli, said teachers were determined to demonstrate their opposition to the O’Farrell Government’s “attack on public sector workers” and the services they deliver.

 “For teachers the attacks are an assault on the learning conditions of students in our public schools and TAFE colleges,” he said.

 “Teachers have an inherent responsibility to protect the education of children and will do what is necessary to defend learning conditions.

 “The only cost savings which could be made in schools and colleges would come by increasing the number of students in a class, or reducing the amount of time teachers have to prepare and mark work.”

 “We urge the public of Broken Hill to support public sector workers in their attempts to maintain the quality of services to our communities.

 “Our health, education and safety will continue to be at risk for as long as this draconian legislation is in place.” BDT/AAP

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