NSW Teachers Strike: An Explainer

Why is there a NSW teachers strike? How will the strike affect you?

NSW and Sydney Train Strike

NSW teachers and principals at public schools will go on strike on Tuesday 7 December, despite an order by the Industrial Relations Commission trying to prevent industrial action.  The teaching profession has reached a crisis point in NSW due to a decade of rising workloads, uncompetitive salaries and growing staff shortages. But the NSW Government has failed to address these problems, leaving teachers with no choice but strike.

The NSW teachers strike isn’t the only strike happening in response to the NSW Liberal government’s anti-worker approach to workplace negotiations. Trains services will be reduced on the same day. Find out more about the NSW and Sydney Train Strike here.

Why are NSW school teachers striking?

Teacher Shortages

– NSW currently has the least teachers per student in Australia. As of June 2021 there were 1148 vacant teacher positions across NSW schools

– 80% of teachers have had to teach outside their area of expertise to cover gaps and vacancies

– Shortages are leading to classroom mergers, teachers missing professional development and training, delays in student assistance, disabled children missing out on support, program cuts and only minimal supervision being provided

Read the NSW Teachers Federation fact sheet

Unsustainable Workloads

– Two-thirds of teachers are currently reconsidering their futures in the profession due to the workload and only one third of teachers currently believe they have time to do their job well

– On average classroom teachers are working 55 hours per week

– “Teaching use to be about teaching and interacting with students 95% of the time. The other 5% was admin. In the last five years that’s changed significantly, almost to the point of 50/50″ – teacher

Read the NSW Teachers Federation fact sheet

Uncompetitive Salaries

– Teacher salaries have been declining relative to other professions for 10 years

“At the same time as the work of teachers has got exponentially harder and more complex, the remuneration of teachers has fallen below that of other professionals.” – Dr Geoff Gallop, former WA Premier and chair of the independent inquiry into the work of teachers

“The earnings for female teachers compared to the average paid to all female professionals has fallen by 8% in the last 30 years. For males the fall has been 15%” – Professor John Buchanan, University of Sydney Business School

Read the NSW Teacher Federation fact sheet

How will you be affected by the NSW teachers strike?

Teachers will not be at school and classes will be cancelled. Individual schools and school principals will make a determination as to whether they will have the resources to provide basic supervision with skeleton staff.

It is advised to make alternate plans for you child on Tuesday 7 December and contact your school principal to find out if childcare is available at the school. 

Read the letter to public school parents from Angelo Gavrielatos, President of the NSW Teachers Federation.

What are teachers in NSW asking for?

Teachers in NSW are asking for basic improvements to their conditions and salaries to make sure they can provide high quality teaching to our children and fix the teacher shortage.

Salaries: An increase of between 5 to 7.5% in the next wages agreement (covering 2022 and 2023.)

Release time: An additional two hours release time is needed for primary teachers, along with a reduction of two hours in the current maximum face-to-face teaching loads for all secondary teachers (including head teachers and deputy principals). Assistant principals and deputy principals in primary schools must also have the same non face-to-face teaching entitlement as their secondary colleagues. This time needs to be dedicated to lesson planning and collaboration with colleagues on how to best meet the needs of students at the school.

Administration: Administration and compliance workloads for teachers need to be reduced in all settings as a matter of urgency.

Workload: An additional two hours a week for lesson planning and collaboration (release time) and an urgent reduction in administration and compliance workloads.

Please note Unions NSW Office will be closed from Friday 24 Dec to Monday 17 Jan 2022.