NSW state school teachers, including those from the Hunter, will continue industrial action next year if the government refuses to drop its wage cap.
Nanjing Night Net

Hunter teachers joined their colleagues from around the state yesterday at two-hour stop work meetings at 18 locations in the region.

Up to 45,000 teachers walked off the job in NSW, just a day before students begin summer holidays, as part of an ongoing dispute over pay.

Teachers have been granted a 2.5per cent increase under the government’s wage cap for public servants but want it to at least match inflation, which is 3.6per cent.

They also want guarantees about their statewide staffing transfer system, which they say is under threat under a state government plan to give more power to principals.

NSW Teachers Federation Hunter organiser Jeff Ainsworth said there could be more stop work meetings or strikes next year if government negotiations did not go well over the holidays.

‘‘The vast majority of teachers are effectively having a wage cut in real terms of $17 a week,’’ he said.

He said the transfer system had flexibility and changing it could threaten the ability to find staff for rural and disadvantaged schools.

‘‘There’s a great proportion of teachers in the Hunter Central Coast who have taken advantage of the transfer system,’’ he said.

Mr Ainsworth said numbers were down at some meetings yesterday because some members provided supervision at schools for end of year activities.

NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said there was no justification for the industrial action.

‘‘Next week there are two pupil-free days when the union could have taken this action but instead they deliberately chose to inconvenience parents and carers and disadvantage students,’’ he said.