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1 Overview During the midpoint of 2004 Australia stood poised for a significant breakthrough in the salaries and status of educators as it awaited the critical decision of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission AIRC It was a decision that would surely have a domino effect throughout Australia and whose ramifications had already encompassed NSW and Victoria It came after a year of political manipulation and negotiation and more importantly large scale industrial action However the issue not only stemmed from governmental policies regarding salaries and conditions but also from the discrepancies in school funding along socially biased lines The initiator of the NSW Teachers dispute was the Vinson Inquiry of 2001 which criticised the state of public education in NSW particularly in regards to teachers salaries and conditions of employment However the underlying triggers were the demands of the dissatisfied NSW teacher fraternity for a 25 wage increase and better working conditions and their request for greater parity in wages between the public and private sectors There were several actors involved in the dispute and these included New South Wales teachers particularly those from the public sector the union representative of NSW teachers NSW Teachers Federation the current NSW State government Carr Labor government NSW Education Minister Andrew Refshauge Australian Industrial Relations Commission AIRC and the Federal government Howard Coalition Government There were several key events and varying actions undertaken by the industrial relations actors in this dispute Firstly the seeds of the dispute were planted on 11 April 2004 by the Federal government when it increased funding to catholic schools by 25 This was followed on 10 May 2004 when the AIRC released a report which confirmed that NSW teachers salaries had fallen by 21 between 1988 and 2002 in relation to real wages Subsequently a vote organised by the NSWTF was held on 11 May 2004 by NSW public school teachers and the decision was to embark on industrial
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