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NSW teacher strike achieves nil, minister

The NSW teachers’ strike planned for next week will only disrupt hardworking families and students, according to the NSW education minister.

Sarah Mitchell says she’s frustrated with the decision made by the NSW Teachers Federation to walk off the job for 24 hours next Wednesday.

“I’m pretty disappointed, I’m on the side of the parents here,” Ms Mitchell told Sydney radio 2GB on Wednesday.

“It’s frustrating, I think our kids have had a lot of disruption over the last couple of years.

“I am the minister but I am also a mum.

“My eight-year-old is happy to be back at school and I want her to be back at school.”

The strike would disrupt families who had been through a difficult two years, and the timing at the start of term two and during the federal election was “not coincidental”, she said.

The union has also imposed a ban on government MPs visiting schools, saying teachers will walk out if they do.

“If you want more validation that Labor is in bed with the unions I think we saw that as well.”

The union did not need to strike to negotiate a new award, she said.

“They just need to be in the (Industrial Relations Commission) with us and they will get an outcome.”

The case is due to come before the Industrial Relations Commission next month.

Most schools would offer minimal supervision for students whose parents could not make other arrangements on Wednesday, Ms Mitchell said.

The teachers’ union suspended its industrial action in December to negotiate with the government, before accusing the government of squandering the opportunity.

“What we’re seeking is a competitive salary for teachers, a salary that is commensurate with other professions,” Teachers Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos told the Seven Network on Wednesday.

“We’re at a point in Australia where inflation is now at 3.8 per cent and predicted to increase above four per cent but the government continues to pursue increases of 2.04 per cent, effectively inflicting a pay cut for teachers.”

The union wants a pay rise of between five and 7.5 per cent, as well as two extra hours of planning time.

The union also voted to ban the implementation of new government policies or initiatives.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said he was disappointed by the decision to strike.

“I’ve made it very clear that we will work through these issues, and we’ll get a good outcome on the other side,” he said on Tuesday.

Opposition Leader Chris Minns has called on the premier to sit down and speak with teacher representatives.

“Many people – particularly those that are trying to make ends meet – are simply not able to cover their mortgage, get their kids through school or meet the fundamentals of a busy life in NSW.”

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