NSW Teachers Federation's Wollongong organiser Duncan McDonald is not surprised the NSW Government has decided to freeze the wages of more than 400,000 public service workers, for the next 12 months
But he is disappointed NSW Premier Gladys Berejikian has shown such "little respect" for the very people who have kept the state running during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Essential workers including nurses, doctors and teachers, have kept the state running during this health crisis and they are the ones who are looking at pay freezes now and in the near future.," Mr McDonald said.
NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos added this pay cut is disrespectful of the role of teachers and principals who have turned themselves inside out to deliver the highest quality of education for students during the Covid-19 crisis.
"Whether this decision impacts today or in 12 month's time, it still amounts to a pay cut and will be resisted by our members," Mr Gavrielatos said.
With treasurer Dominic Perrottet also on hand during Wednesday's announcement, Ms Berejikian said the decision "has not been taken lightly" and was designed to put "every spare dollar we have" into health spending.
The Premier added by taking this decision there would be no job losses within the public service for 12 months.
While Mr McDonald appreciated this, he was sick and tired of school and TAFE teachers alike being taken for granted.
He said TAFE teachers had already had an expected pay rise taken away from them at the last minute by the federal government.
"The NSWTF actually has a legally binding agreement....there is actually an award in place that has been through the Industrial Relations Commission at the State level. Under this agreement we were meant to get a pay rise this past April," Mr McDonald said.
"Our message to the government to date has been very clear, teachers do expect the state government to honour that agreement for school teachers."
Mr McDonald said those in the teaching profession have been turning themselves inside out going over and above the call of duty to support students right through the COVID crisis.
"They have been thrust on the front line of the crisis. Teachers have kept schools open or they have supported students to learn remotely," he said.
"They certainly discharge their professional responsibilities and social responsibilities excellently but they certainly deserve more respect I believe from certain politicians.
"They are receiving platitudes but at the same time the Premier Gladys Berejikian and the state treasurer Dominic Perrottet are scheming behind the scenes to cut pay."
The NSWTF are calling on the Premier to change course and to honour existing agreements, as well as invest in the economy through higher salaries for TAFE teachers.
"When you look at some of the expert economic advice, there is certainly sound economic argument against wage freezes," he said.
"Many respected economists say those cuts and freezes will not grow us out of a financial crisis.
"The economists suggests we come out through stimulus and investment, and of course stimulus and investment is associated with wage increases, so there is certainly sound economic argument against a wage freeze."