The starting annual salary for teachers in NSW is set to be raised to $85,000, while experienced educators could earn as much as $122,000, under a historic new deal between the NSW Teachers Federation and the NSW Government.
On Tuesday morning (5 September), the peak union body announced it had reached an in-principle Heads of Agreement with the Government to tackle an ongoing teacher shortage by making beginning and top-of-scale teachers the nation’s best paid.
The new pay deal follows weeks of protests by teachers, many of whom were incensed with the Government’s previous four-year proposal of a 2.5 per cent increase in years two, three and four, which was viewed as a reneging of a pre-election commitment on teachers’ pay.
The town of Griffith was a focal point of the dispute, with a group of local teachers confronting NSW Premier Chris Minns at the airport in early August in a surprise protest over pay.
“The Griffith teachers made a big difference in turning their anger towards Minns for not honouring the deal,” NSW Teachers Federation organiser Brett Bertalli said.
“This is a very good first step in resolving the staffing crisis, to provide a competitive salary, to reduce the number of teachers leaving the profession or drifting to other states.”
Mr Bertalli said NSW teachers would now be the highest paid in the country.
The starting salary for a NSW teacher will increase from $75,791 to $85,000 and the pay for a top-of-the-scale teacher will jump from $113,042 to $122,100. All teachers will move to a new, higher-paying step.
According to the Teachers Federation, the proposal represents the most significant improvement to NSW teachers’ wages in decades. The union will recommend to its state council meeting on 9 September that the proposed Heads of Agreement be endorsed.
School counsellors will be paid according to a new salary scale consisting of five annual steps, recognising their dual qualification and acute staff shortages in their discipline. School counsellors at band 2.3, senior psychologists education and leaders psychology practice will have their salaries adjusted to the same level as head teachers/assistant principals, deputy principals and principals, respectively. School counsellors in bands 1 to 2.2 will move to a new, higher-paying step on the salary scale.
Casual teacher and casual counsellor school rates are also adjusted upwards from a two-step scale to a three-step scale linked to the steps 1, 3 and 5 of the new full-time salary scale. Award-based allowances are also boosted by 4 per cent.
Mr Bertalli said it was a great first step, but there was still plenty of work to do to address the teacher shortage in the Riverina and throughout regional NSW.
“We don’t stop. We might take today to celebrate, but there are still 24 staff vacancies at the two Griffith high schools,” he said.
He said his focus would now be on increasing incentives for teachers who chose to come to Griffith and reducing workloads for teachers across the state.
Original Article published by Oliver Jacques on Region Riverina.