More than 100,000 rti teachers are in a state of limbo in New South Wales, as the State Government seeks to negotiate a new contract with them.
The union, which has about 3,000 members, is seeking a pay rise, but the Government says it will not accept such an increase unless the union agrees to pay a fixed amount for teachers, regardless of whether the state government can afford to pay for it.
“The State Government is committed to securing a fair deal for the teachers,” the Department of Education said in a statement.
It said the unions’ agreement with the state Government is based on a collective bargaining agreement, which is “fair and reasonable” and that it was not a matter for negotiation.
New South Wales Education Minister Kate Ellis told the ABC the Government would not negotiate without the teachers union.
She said the Government was working with the union to “develop a comprehensive contract that protects the teachers and their rights”.
“This is an important time for teachers in New Scotland and we need to make sure we do everything we can to support them to ensure that their voices are heard and they have the best possible opportunity to represent the interests of their colleagues,” Ms Ellis said.
There is no guarantee the union will be able to negotiate over the new contract, but Ms Ellis confirmed that the State’s Department of Employment, Employment Standards and Employment Relations would be “engaged in discussions with the New South Welsh Teachers Union” to ensure the contract is “as fair and reasonable as possible”.
The teachers’ union says it wants to see more teachers in the profession, but that it does not have the money to do so.
In a statement, the union said the agreement the State is seeking is “the lowest and most reasonable offer we have received”.
It also said it is committed “to providing our members with a fair and adequate wage increase to support the ongoing growth of the profession”.
There are currently about 3.2 million teachers in Australia, with about 1.5 million in New Zealand and Australia’s three main states.