Teachers strike over forced transfers


By Nick Fredman SYDNEY — Relations between the NSW Teachers Federation and the Carr Labor government have further soured over a dispute involving forced transfers from Lurnea High School. This is the third time the union has been at odds with the government it campaigned to elect a year ago. Teachers last July voted to place work bans on the introduction of new programs in order to block the government's plan to extend the elitist "specialist" school system. In October TAFE teachers struck and rallied against plans to "corporatise" the TAFE sector. The current dispute broke out when teachers dissatisfied with school management lodged grievances. After Education Department grievance procedures and a department inquiry failed to resolve matters, education director general Ken Boston ordered seven teachers to transfer or be sacked. Six refused, and on January 31 staff struck. Students and parents rallied with teachers outside the Education Department on February 1. Education minister John Aquilina rejected the federation's demand for his intervention and fully supported the department. The union is conducting stop-work meetings to discuss statewide industrial action.