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Prime Minister and Education Minister’s visit sparks NSW school walkout

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A visit by the New South Wales Premier and Minister for Education to a school opening on the first day of term one led to dozens of staff leaving the school grounds in protest.

Dominic Perrottet and Sarah Mitchell attended the opening of Meadowbank Public School and Marsden Secondary School in Meadowbank Education Precinct in Sydney’s northwest on Wednesday.

Their arrival defied a union ban on government MPs from attending schools and prompted some 40 teachers to walk off campus, holding signs saying “Teachers deserve more than thanks.” They deserve a raise.”

The NSW Teachers Federation executive on Tuesday voted for a 24-hour strike next Wednesday as part of a campaign for a pay rise, and allowed state school teachers to step down if NSW government MPs arrive on the campus.

The Prime Minister said he was welcomed as the school opened despite the incident.

“Let’s be fair, it’s the Labor Party and the trade union movement that is playing politics with our children and our parents,” the prime minister told the media on Wednesday.

Mr Perrottet said he had met the Minister and the head of the NSW Teachers Federation and was negotiating a structured outcome.

“In the (June) budget, in a sustained, fair and reasonable manner, we are working on these issues to achieve an outcome that we believe is fair and reasonable.”

“I want our public service to be the best paid,” he said.

“I know (the public service has) been on the front line and worked incredibly hard during the pandemic.

“But like everyone else. Every person, every mom, every dad, across our state has been through an incredibly difficult time.

“Please don’t make it harder.”

He said Queensland and New South Wales had the main public sector wage increases of 2.5% and that he intended to lead the private sector as the country moved towards a more environment. inflationary.

Opposition Leader Chris Minns said he wished the walkout had not happened and teachers could have taken the opportunity to air their grievances directly to the government.

“In many cases, government MPs and politicians show up in public schools with the media, and teachers feel like they’re being used as a prop,” Minns said.

“It’s a good opportunity to sit down and say to the Prime Minister or the Minister of Education, without hesitation, this is what we are going through. That’s what we need.

“That’s the challenge of being a paramedic, a teacher in New South Wales today.”

The minister criticized plans for a strike next week, saying it would disrupt families and students.

“I’m quite disappointed. I’m on the parents’ side here,” Ms Mitchell told 2GB radio on Wednesday.

“(The union) just needs to be in the (Industrial Relations Board) with us and they will get a result.”

The case is due before the commission next month.

The teachers’ union suspended industrial action in December to negotiate, but says the government has passed up the opportunity.

Teachers’ Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos told AAP that the teachers’ walkout would have been planned by the government.

“There is significant sentiment and anger in the teaching department and the response has been exactly what we predicted,” he said.

“The shortage of teachers is caused by uncompetitive salaries and unsustainable workloads.”

The national inflation figure jumped to 5.1% on Wednesday, but the government was chasing a three-year allocation rate of 2.04%.

The union wants a wage increase of between 5 and 7.5%, as well as two additional hours of planning time.

-PAA