Thursday, January 22, 2009


State makes peace with teachers

Anna Patty Education Editor, smh

January 22, 2009

THE State Government has shelved plans to give school principals greater powers to recruit staff of their choice, in a peace deal to resolve a long-running industrial dispute with the NSW Teachers Federation.

The Government has also backed down on a staff transfer policy it had wanted to phase out from next year.

The teacher union yesterday accepted a salary offer brokered by the NSW Industrial Commission, which provides a cumulative 12.48 per cent increase over three years for TAFE and school teachers.

In accepting the increase, which was 2.5 per cent below what they had sought, teachers traded off some conditions.

There has been a reduction in their sick-leave entitlements from 33 days to 15 days a year, and they can no longer use accumulated leave to top up workers compensation payments.

The Director-General of Education, Michael Coutts-Trotter, yesterday said it was "a decent pay rise for teachers and one that's affordable for taxpayers".

The Premier, Nathan Rees, had ordered government departments to negotiate trade-offs to pay for any wage increases for public servants exceeding 2.5 per cent a year.

The Government announced last year that it would phase out lower-priority "service transfers" for teachers from next year, providing school principals with more opportunities to hire teachers of their choice. Such transfers allow teachers to earn points towards gaining a position in more sought-after locations.

Under the new three-year staffing agreement, finalised yesterday, the Government will retain preliminary arrangements it introduced last April, which allow principals to alternate between advertising teacher vacancies and accepting a service transfer.

The president of the NSW Teachers Federation, Bob Lipscombe, said the staffing and salary agreements were a good outcome "especially in the current economic climate".