Griffith teachers walk off the job

GRIFFITH teachers walked off the job for a two-hour stop work meeting yesterday morning to discuss their salaries and work conditions.

During the meeting held at the Griffith Ex-Servicemen's Club, 150 teachers from the Griffith Teachers Association passionately discussed issues facing them and voted on the state government's proposal on pay and conditions for the next three years.

"There was much debate over the wages and conditions offer as the timing of the award ending comes at a difficult time of the year where administration tasks (exam marking, report writing, end of year paper work) taking teachers away from their core business, their students," Griffith Teachers Association president Ms Melina Ragusa said.

"Some teachers felt that there had been very little consultation time especially when most efforts this year between the Federal and State Governments have been about making sure Gonski commitments were delivered for the benefit of all students.

"A decision was made to accept the maximum annual allowances allowed by law to public services employees."

Teachers will receive increases of 2.27 per cent, 2 per cent and 2.15 per cent for the next three years, with no change in current conditions.

Teachers in NSW will have to meet the standards of a central body, the NSW Institute of Teachers, with revised efficiency procedures.

Teachers can also choose to apply for a new teacher qualification, that of a Highly Accomplished Teacher earning them a pay rise of approximately $5000, only after paying a $600 fee and completing a portfolio that requires a huge increase in work load.

"While the motion from the NSW Teachers Federation was passed, great concern was expressed at the amount of consultation with matters relating to small school principals," Ms Ragusa said

"Negotiations with the DEC have failed to implement the most logical choice in supporting these principals, extra administrative support.

"The DEC has instead recommended that small school principals be reclassified and be paid on the complexity of their budgets. Principals will ask to associate themselves with neighbouring schools even if they are many kilometres away."

Member's voiced their concern by adding a recommendation to the motion, highlighting the problems that the reclassification will cause to the identity of rural schools in the Griffith.

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