More than 400 teachers and support staff from Catholic systemic and government schools met at historic Keystone in Bathurst where unionists met in the 1880s to improve their conditions.

Members from the IEU and the NSW Teachers Federation were protesting their employers’ failure to address uncompetitive salaries, unmanageable conditions and crippling staff shortages.

Support staff from Catholic systemic schools also joined to protest their employers’ failure to match their salaries with those in government schools.

Speakers from both sectors shared their experiences of split classes, increasing workloads and the effects of teacher shortages on their ability to achieve a healthy work/life balance.

The live stream from the huge Sydney rally provided an opportunity to hear the heads of both unions speak, with both urging the NSW Government and the Catholic employers to lift their pay cap and take serious steps to attract and retain teachers.

In Bathurst, members marched through the streets to NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole’s office to present our claims. The marchers chanted slogans supported by the honks of car horns from enthusiastic drivers on Howick Street.

Jackie Groom