Activist almost wins NSW Teachers Federation presidential election

Candidate for NSW Teachers Federation president John Morris

Former Australian Education Union federal president and Education International project director Angelo Gavrielatos has narrowly defeated teacher and activist John Morris in the NSW Teachers Federation (NSWTF) presidential elections. 

The final result, which was announced on October 8, showed Gavrielatos winning 54% of the vote, beating Morris by just 489 votes.

With the support of fellow teachers, Morris ran a grassroots campaign focused on “workload, salaries and respect”. 

Over the past eight years, NSW teachers have experienced some of the largest rises in workloads and lowest levels of salary growth. These trends have coincided with the lowest levels of industrial action by teachers since the post-World War II period. 

Morris’ campaign focused on promoting united industrial action to directly challenge NSW’s unfair industrial laws, including breaking the state government’s 2.5% cap on salary rises for public sector workers. 

The current NSWTF leadership has instead sought to win salary gains via ongoing accreditation and professional development. 

During the campaign, Morris said of the state government: “The other side does not respect professionalism. What the other side respects is power. 

“We need to get back to acting with other unions in a campaign to defeat these unfair laws," he said.

“When there are 20,000 teachers standing out the front of [state parliament] demanding an end to the 2.5% salary cap - that’s how you win respect”.

Morris explained that the NSWTF is one of the state’s largest unions and should be leading other unions to campaign against unfair industrial laws. 

“Unions are about power, not professionalism. It’s power and collective action that will break the 2.5% salary cap, reduce workload and win respect”. 

NSWTF senior officers are elected for two-year terms. 

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