The 24-hour teachers strike has seen swarms of people march through Sydney’s CBD this morning, from Hyde Park to Parliament House in Macquarie Street in protest for an annual pay rise above 2.5 per cent.
The rally demanded a pay rise of between 5 and 7.5 per cent as well as extra planning time for lessons.
Members of the Teachers Federation rejected an 11th-hour bid from the government hinting at more pay and instead decided to go ahead with the strike.
President Angelo Gavrielatos said the situation has become “unsustainable”.
“More than 70 per cent of teachers are reporting that they’re considering options other than teaching,” Mr Gavrielatos said.
The state’s Education Department has listed 209 schools as “not operating” and parents were urged to keep children at home due to the strike.
“It’s really frustrating. The last thing that I want to see is disruption to students and families,” Ms Mitchell told Today.
Ms Mitchell said the state government is continuing to work through negotiations with the NSW Teachers Federation and have been doing so for months, but industrial action won’t get the outcome they desire.
Unions across multiple essential workforces, including paramedics, nurses and teachers, have staged rolling strikes this year in a campaign against the state’s public sector wage cap, which limits annual pay rises to 2.5 per cent.
While under pressure over the cap, Mr Perrottet has repeatedly said he’s trying to “balance” the budget.
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An Industrial Relations Commission hearing which would have locked in a 2.04 per cent pay rise for teachers this year has been pushed back until after the budget, in order to give the Premier a chance to review his wages policy.
“I can’t commit to you that the decision that we land on will satisfy the concerns and the issues the Teachers Federation have,” Mr Perrottet said.