Teachers to walk off the job
THOUSANDS of teachers are expected to strike today (Wednesday) to protest against the State Government’s school autonomy plan, in defiance of an Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) order to call off the industrial action.
New South Wales Teachers Federation president, Maurie Mulheron, says neither the IRC ruling nor a plea from the Premier Barry O’Farrell will deter teachers concerned over the Local Schools Local Decisions policy, which will give principals the power to control 70 per cent of a school’s budget.
“The actions of the government are so extreme that it requires a strong protest from the profession,” says Mr Mulheron.
He says he expects morning meetings across the state to attract thousands of teachers.
The union has warned the government’s reforms could mean teachers will be cut or replaced with casuals.
The IRC ruled on Monday the action by teachers was not in the public interest and would inconvenience more than 700,000 students, as well as their parents and carers.
The union could face a $10,000 fine for going against the IRC order, and Premier O’Farrell says he will push ahead with legislation that will push that sum up to $100,000, Sydney media report.
“A $10,000 fine given the size of the teachers federation is a slap on the wrist,” he says.
Mr O’Farrell says parents are losing patience with the state’s teachers.
“My message to teachers is go to work, my message to teachers is not (to) believe the Teachers Federation,” he says.
Mr Mulheron has not ruled out future industrial action.
“That will be determined in the course of time,” he says.