Class action, or costly lesson?

BANGALOW-Byron Bay Teachers' Association president Jim Richardson says he doesn't want to go on strike next week, but has no choice.

The NSW Teachers' Federation will strike from 9am to 11am on Wednesday because the Education Department rejected demands for a 5 per cent pay rise, instead offering 2.5 per cent and less sick leave.

“We would much prefer that it was negotiated out properly with the Government, but the Department of Education has refused to negotiate and we are in a position where we need to act,” Mr Richardson, a teacher-librarian at Byron High, said.

Mr Richardson said the Government was undervaluing teachers and underestimating the need to recruit more quality teachers.

An Education Department spokesman said the teachers' stop-work action would do nothing that could not be achieved by negotiation within the Industrial Relations Commission.

MOTHER of two Kate Crisp has a six-year-old son attending Byron Bay Public School.

She supports the teachers' strike action, saying they deserve better pay.

“I think that is absolutely totally fair enough. They are really super-dooper underpaid for what they do and they deserve more than 5 per cent,” she said.

“What I normally do when they take action is I send my son along to school anyway.

“It is with minimal supervision, but they are there with their friends and my boy thinks it is great. How can people be talking about the education revolution and not be prepared to put any money behind it? It is crazy.

“People send their kids to private schools and do not realise that half the time the teachers are not even qualified. To be qualified you are expected to spend four to six years of your life at uni and pay HECS. In any other profession where you had to do a degree you would be better off.”

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