‘Backwards’ teachers seek 7.5pc pay rise

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Bethany HiattSouth Western Times
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The teachers’ union is demanding a 7.5 per cent pay increase over three years.

The claims would smash the government’s $1000 a year cap, or 1.5 per cent limit, imposed on wage increases in the public sector until 2021.

The State School Teachers Union said it would seek pay rises of 2 and 2.5 per cent in the first two years of its new agreement, followed by a 3 per cent claim if it extends to a third year.

The union’s draft log of claims said it was unfair to expect government employees to continue to shoulder the brunt of budget repair strategies in the context of rising living costs and increased workload stress.

Writing in the union’s magazine, SSTU president Pat Byrne said the State Government’s position on wages was “untenable”.

“At a time of 2 per cent inflation, this means that teachers are continuing to go backwards,” she said.

“This is short-sighted in the extreme in light of the number of teachers needed to cater for projected student enrolment growth.”

Police, prison officers and doctors have also said they would reject the Government’s hardline wage policy.

It comes as results of a workload survey conducted by Curtin University showed that teachers were working longer hours because of an increase in red tape and were less likely to seek leadership positions.

The survey found 91.4 per cent of respondents reported an increase in administrative tasks at the same time that support staff numbers had been cut and 90.2 per cent said the complexity of their work had increased.

Ms Byrne said teachers would make sure students’ learning did not suffer by putting in extra hours at home to keep up with administrative demands.

“This is not sustainable in the long term,” she said. “We are seeing teachers and school leaders in the middle of the school year who are exhausted.”

“Student learning will ultimately suffer as fewer people opt for teaching as a long-term profession.”

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