Scrap the cap! Keep those yellow t-shirts handy

Maintaining pressure on Catholic systemic employers and the NSW State Government throughout Term 3 is critical.

We invite all members to get involved. Here's how:

  • check your school has responded to the staffing shortages survey
  • send your State Member of Parliament an email regarding staffing shortages – see the IEU website (
  • respond to your organiser’s requests for IEU Reps or activists to be part of a delegation to your local MP in Weeks 6 and 7 of this term. Members of the delegation will have the survey results to discuss with the MP
  • in Weeks 6 and 7, wear your yellow campaign t-shirt with pride.

Catholic employers – both systemic and independent – have been put on notice regarding the slow progress of negotiations. It is no secret that fair salaries and enhanced and protected planning time are critical to achieving a settlement.

With all but one diocese sticking closely to the government sector wages policy for Catholic schools, the outcome for government schools is highly relevant to Catholic schools. The right benchmark must be set.

It is imperative that the determination for government schools is fair and reasonable. The repercussions are significant for salary outcomes across all education sectors in NSW and elsewhere.

The NSW salary cap must be scrapped and a revised strategy adopted. The status quo will not do. School communities are demanding that schools be appropriately staffed.

School enrolments are increasing and the number of students entering initial teacher education is declining. The staffing crisis will only worsen without proper salaries.

Salaries in Queensland government schools will soon outstrip those of NSW. Let’s keep the pressure up.

Economist Ross Gittins pointed out in a recent Sydney Morning Herald column: “Whenever inflation worsens, the economists’ accusing fingers point not to business but to workers. No one ever says businesses should show more restraint, but they do say the only way to fix the problem is for workers to take a real-wage haircut.”

IEU members say ‘no’ to that haircut and seek pay increases that manage inflationary pressures.

The good news

The IEU attended a roundtable on teacher shortages in Canberra on 12 August, convened by Federal Education Minister Jason Clare (see p 2, opposite). The introduction to its Issues Paper captures the problem: “Australian schools are facing unprecedented teacher supply and retention challenges, with workforce shortages one of the single biggest issues facing teacher employers in all school sectors and early childhood education settings across Australia.”

IEUA Federal Secretary Christine Cooper attended, as did IEU Executive member Angela McDonald, who teaches at St Thomas Aquinas Primary School in the ACT. The meeting was an important first step.

It must be acknowledged that having unions and teachers attend a meeting with the nation’s Education Ministers is significant.

As Newsmonth goes to press, IEU members’ concerns regarding improved pay rates and working conditions for school and early career teachers are being tabled.

Teacher shortages and other concerns are finally being taken seriously. Solutions must involve the profession. Valuing teachers and respecting the profession are paramount.