Making history

On 21 June, the Executives of the IEU and the NSW Teachers Federation held a joint meeting for the first time. As the NSW Government handed down its budget locking in a pay cap of just 3%, the meeting resolved unanimously that both unions would take industrial action.

The meeting was followed by a joint press conference outside NSW Parliament House, attended by all major media outlets, with subsequent press conferences in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong on the day before the industrial action on 30 June.

Joint resolution (excerpt): “The Executives of the NSW Teachers Federation and the Independent Education Union of Australia NSW/ACT Branch note the failure of the NSW Premier to respond to the urgent concerns of the profession. This also impacts directly upon the IEU’s negotiations for new enterprise agreements in Catholic systemic schools. We therefore direct all members to strike for 24 hours on Thursday 30 June … This historic joint action is a direct result of the manifest failure of the NSW Government and Catholic employers to address the teaching crisis in our schools.”

IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary Mark Northam (on left), speaking at a press conference:

“We ask the Catholic employers to revise their thinking and come out with a better strategy than the Perrottet Government’s 3% pay cap. That pay cap is strangling our negotiations. Let’s get teachers paid what they’re due. This includes support staff in Catholic systemic schools too. They’re not getting what their government school counterparts earn. So there’s a range of problems here. The answers are known. Let’s get on the street and at the negotiating table and fix it.”

NSW Teachers Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos (above right), speaking at a press conference: “Teachers and principals would much prefer to be taking care of the students in the communities that they serve. But we’ve been forced into this action as a result of a government that is denying the facts. I can tell you this: I’ve never experienced a teaching service so angry. I’ve never seen teachers and principals so angry. You’ll see that anger on the streets of Sydney and across NSW.”