Thousands of NSW teachers on strike, reduced train services in Sydney

Thousands of NSW public and Catholic schools are on strike 24 hours a day, while industrial action by railway workers affects the frequency of train services.

teachers will descend on Sydney’s CBD on Thursday, mad at a NSW budget that offered no more than three cents a pay rise this year, with the option of 3.5 percent the following year.

It is the third strike in six months by the… NSW teachers Federation and Independent Education Union NSW/ACT, which equates to 85,000 teachers

The strike is expected to affect about a million families just a day before a two-week school holiday.

It is the first time in more than 25 years that the two unions have joined forces to strike for 24 hours.

“We have a crisis in the form of a teacher shortage, a crisis caused by the government itself,” NSW teachersFederation president Angelo Gavrielatos told reporters on Wednesday.

“The government has been aware of the causes of this crisis for years: uncompetitive salaries and unsustainable work pressure.

Education Secretary Sarah Mitchell is disappointed with the strike decision and says she is politically motivated.

Most schools have minimal supervision, but a percentage of schools will be closed for a day.

Ms Mitchell defended the government’s wage policy in the public sector, calling it the most generous in the country.

Meanwhile, the railroad union says the union action will continue this week, despite a verbal commitment from Transportation Secretary David Elliott to spend $264 million on safety upgrades to a Korean-made fleet.

The rail, tram and bus union has long been stuck with the government over the changes.

RTBU secretary Alex Claassens said the union would like to see the full package and commitment in writing and discuss it with members before calling off any action.

“Rail workers and commuters have been burned too often to believe what a minister says in one meeting,” Claassens said.

Sydney Trains CEO Matt Longland said the network was operating at reduced capacity, resembling a weekend schedule.

He advised commuters to avoid train journeys or take extra time, as services will be less frequent and carriages will be busier.

The railway union started industrial action on Tuesday by reducing train speeds to 60 km/h. On Friday, speeds will be reduced by 70 percent during rush hour.

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