Over 1000 teachers on strike gather at Newcastle Panthers

AN estimated 1200 teachers on strike over state government reforms gathered at Newcastle Panthers Club this morning where they voted unanimously to continue and intensify their campaign.

Hunter organiser for the NSW Teachers Federation Fred Dumbrell said it was the largest rally he had seen in Newcastle, describing the spirit as ‘‘extremely strong’’.

Along with their colleagues who rallied at Sydney’s Town Hall and 30 other venues across NSW, Hunter and Central Coast teachers received reports about the State Government’s Local Schools Local Decisions policy.

The Federation says the policy, which gives school principals more control over their school’s budget, will force school principals to make financially-driven staffing decisions with adverse impacts on the quality and composition of teaching staff.

They say there will be fewer permanent positions available because temporary staff are cheaper to hire.

President of the Maitland Teachers Association, Brian Adamthwaite, said the policy would further disadvantage remote schools and other schools which were already difficult to staff.

The State Government has slammed the strike action with Education Minister Adrian Piccoli accusing the union of running a ‘‘scare campaign’’.

‘‘We are not reducing school budgets and we are not reducing the education budget,’’ he said.

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