Wagga teachers are set to strike next week after the NSW Teachers Federation announced it would take industrial action over the state government's refusal to negotiate a pay rise of more than 2.5 per cent.
"All teachers who are members of the NSW Teachers Federation will take a 24-hour strike next Wednesday," the president of the Wagga Teachers Association, Michelle McKelvie, said.
It is understood the strike will significantly affect all public primary and secondary schools across Wagga and the Riverina.
Amid rising teacher shortages, the federation is calling for a pay rise of between 5 and 7.5 per cent and two extra hours of planning.
Under a NSW law brought in by the Coalition, public sector wage increases are now capped at 2.5 per cent.
"We haven't had to take this sort of action for 10 years," Ms McKelvie said.
"While it is quite serious, we did try and negotiate with the Department of Education about teacher shortages but they weren't willing."
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A spokesperson for the NSW Department of Education said they were "deeply disappointed" at the union's decision to strike on May 4 given the dispute was set to be arbitrated in the Industrial Relations Commission early next month.
"We call on the federation to put students first and call off the planned industrial action," they said.
"Parents want their children in school, and no student needs another day out of the classroom."
Ms McKelvie said the action could see schools across the region close for the day.
"In previous years teacher shortages were more of an issue in very remote parts of the state, but now it's also a real problem in Wagga itself," Ms McKelvie said.
"There are unfilled positions in our primary schools, secondary schools, we have teachers doing extra periods and we even have people teaching out of their area.
Ms McKelvie said schools would keep parents updated.
"Local schools will certainly inform parents about what is happening at each school and how it will affect them," she said.
Estella Public School Parents and Citizens Committee's Lauren Knagge spoke out in support of staff at the school. "The Estella Parents and Citizens executive committee and parent body fully support both our teaching and support staff at the school," Ms Knagge said.
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