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Teachers join train and bus drivers in walking off the job in NSW

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Teachers from Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and the Blue Mountains are expected to rally in Sydney, starting in Hyde Park before marching down Macquarie Street to NSW Parliament.

NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos, speaking on Monday, said: “The NSW government is concerned about children missing out for one day, but we are concerned about children missing out every day because there simply aren’t enough teachers.”

Teachers want a pay increase up to 7.5 per cent a year to “begin to reverse the decline in teachers’ wages compared to other professions”.

Mr Gavrielatos said the government was also lacking a coherent strategy to fill 3,000 vacant positions and recruit 11,000 teachers the state needs in the next decade.

Bus drivers hold placards as they participate in a strike at Burwood Bus Depot in Sydney.

Source: AAP

Transport strikes began on Monday, with bus drivers in the inner west going on strike and their unions calling on the state government to demand its contractor Transit Systems negotiate over a two-tier wage system that has some workers earning less than others for doing the same job.

That industrial action continues on Tuesday with drivers from Sydney’s southwest striking, before drivers from both regions stop work for two hours on Friday afternoon.

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Bus commuters looking for alternative transport will be short of options, with train drivers refusing to operate foreign-made trains that run about three-quarters of the services.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) has been negotiating a new enterprise bargaining agreement after the old one expired in May.

Sydney Trains chief executive Matt Longland said the strikes were disappointing after more than 40 meetings between Sydney Trains, NSW TrainLink and the union, however the union says leaders they want to negotiate with have only just started coming to the table.

The union wants an end to privatisation, safety standards maintained and a commitment to retaining current hygiene standards without a reliance on contractors.

Mr Longland said employees had been offered a 2.5 per cent pay increase, inclusive of superannuation.

Transport for NSW said Tuesday’s strikes meant services would run to a reduced frequency on most lines, make additional station stops and take longer to reach their destination.

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