On Saturday March 8, 300 delegates at the NSW Teachers Federation (NSWTF) state council voted unanimously to strike in opposition to the Iemma government’s plan to deregulate the supply of teachers to schools.

Stop-work Sky Channel meetings will be held on Tuesday April 8.

Education Minister John Della-Bosca is seeking to overturn 20 years of negotiated agreement between the NSW Teachers Federation and the Department of Education on appointments, transfer rights and union presence on selection panels.

In a smoke screen for the free market based deregulation, Della-Bosca claims this will enable beginning teachers to jump waiting lists and help principals select “quality” staff.

However, former minister Carmel Tebbutt, who signed off the last agreement in 1996, stated in her final address:

“The result (of deregulation) will be chaos. Schools in favourable locations, in cities and along the coast, will take their pick of applicants. Schools in less favoured locations will be forced to accept what they can and in many cases they will not have sufficient staff.”

Della-Bosca’s proposal will not decrease waiting lists as no new positions are being offered. This is a divide and rule tactic, used to try to break the 90 per cent rate of unionism in NSW schools as many older teachers retire and the government seeks a “generation” change.

Thankfully, the NSWTF has been recruiting most beginning teachers directly from university.

Teachers will hold a lobby outside the upcoming state Labor party conference.

More pay and additional staffing will be demanded by the NSWTF in our upcoming claim. This is the positive alternative to Labor’s neo-liberal attacks.

John Morris

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