STATEWIDE ACTION: Some of the public school teachers meeting in Lismore’s Star Court Theatre to vote on a recommendation for new salaries and work conditions award.
STATEWIDE ACTION: Some of the public school teachers meeting in Lismore’s Star Court Theatre to vote on a recommendation for new salaries and work conditions award. Alex Utting

Teachers vote ‘yes’ to award

TEACHERS from public schools across the Northern Rivers walked off the job yesterday morning to vote on a recommendation for a new award that would see improved salaries and work conditions in NSW.

Teachers stopped work from 9-11am to rally against the State Government's Public Sector Wages Policy that was set to determine wage conditions for NSW teachers.

The majority of Lismore members of the Teachers Federation voted to endorse recommendations to increase pay and optionally change classifications of principals at small schools.

President of Lismore branch of NSW Teachers Federation Gae Masters said: "Today is about maintaining the professionalism of teachers in NSW."

While the majority of union members around the state also voted yes to the recommendations, principal of Wyrallah Public School Lisa Fahy voted against them.

She said her 'no' vote was because of concern over the potential reclassification for principals of small schools that would see administrative duties go to larger schools nearby.

She said she also felt uncomfortable supporting the recommendations because of the lack of time teachers were given to view and engage in meaningful community consultation about recommendations.

"I'm happy to support salary increases but to subterfuge small schools is something I couldn't support," Mrs Fahy said.

"I know the favourite toy of every child in the school and what's happening in their lives, this means as small school I can individualise our teaching, if the principal was in less control of administrative duties we would lose our identity."

Lismore District Public School Principals Association delegate Dafydd Thomas echoed Mrs Fahy's sentiments.

Despite this, 96% of members at 209 venues across NSW voted to endorse the terms for a new three-year Salaries and Conditions Award for public school teachers on January 1.