Journalist mistaken for anti-vaxxer over shirt detail amid Sydney strikes

Thousands of teachers have caught a small group of anti-vaxxers trying to hijack their protest in Sydney during one of the largest demonstrations since the start of the Covid pandemic.

Nearly 400 state schools across NSW have closed, while others remain open with a skeleton overseeing students as teachers and principals quit their jobs on Tuesday to strike over wages and conditions.

In scenes reminiscent of the industrial unrest of the 1980s, thousands of teachers from Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and the Blue Mountains gathered in Hyde Park and began marching towards the NSW Parliament.

A small group of anti-vaxxers protesting jab mandates and Covid lockdowns yelled at the red-shirted teachers and shouted ‘shame on you’, but were quickly overrun by the large crowd.

Meanwhile, 9 News reporter Liz Daniels ran into trouble after attending the protests wearing a white blouse — only to find that white shirts were worn as a uniform to highlight anti-vaxxers in the crowd.

“Shaked up to cover the teacher meeting in a crisp white blouse, only to realize it’s the ‘symbol’ to signify the anti-vaxxers in the crowd,” she admitted.

“I now want to state that I’ve been given a double dose…just here for the news.”

Reporter Liz Daniels went downstairs to cover the Sydney teacher protest in a white blouse, only to find that white shirts were worn as a uniform to mark anti-vaxxers in the crowd

Teachers across New South Wales went on strike on Tuesday to protest unsustainable workloads for uncompetitive pay

Teachers across New South Wales went on strike on Tuesday to protest unsustainable workloads for uncompetitive pay

Protesting teachers marched from Hyde Park to Parliament Building in Sydney

Protesting teachers marched from Hyde Park to Parliament Building in Sydney

Thousands of school staff from Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and the Blue Mountains gathered in Sydney

Thousands of school staff from Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and the Blue Mountains gathered in Sydney

Teachers claim staff shortages have increased workloads with little incentive to match, leaving thousands of people marching through Sydney in protest.

“Today’s disruption will be dwarfed as teacher shortages worsen and there is no teacher in your child’s classroom,” Angelo Gavrielatos, president of the NSW Teachers Federation, told ABC.

“The costs of not intervening now and forcing the government to take note and do what needs to be done will be much higher.”

Teachers want a pay increase of up to 7.5 percent per year to reverse the decline in teachers’ wages compared to other professions.

Teachers want pay rise to 7.5 percent per year to reverse teachers' pay drop compared to other professions

Teachers want pay rise to 7.5 percent per year to reverse teachers’ pay drop compared to other professions

Police monitor as thousands of teachers attended a march to protest poor working conditions

Police monitor as thousands of teachers attended a march to protest poor working conditions

The More Than Thanks campaign teams up with protesting teachers to advocate for better working conditions

The More Than Thanks campaign teams up with protesting teachers to advocate for better working conditions

More Than Thanks claims that teachers work 55-hour weeks and that one in eight teachers leave within 6 years due to the pay and workload associated with the profession

More Than Thanks claims that teachers work 55-hour weeks and that one in eight teachers leave within 6 years due to the pay and workload associated with the profession

Mr Gavrielatos said the government also lacked a coherent strategy to fill 3,000 vacant positions and recruit 11,000 teachers that the state needs over the next decade.

Education Secretary Sarah Mitchell says teachers have been given a 2.5 percent pay increase, the maximum possible under public sector pay policies, and the government wants to work with the union to tackle the teacher shortage.

“Every time we try to talk about these things, we seem to hit a wall,” she told Nine Network on Tuesday.

“Kids have already had a rough year and parents have been disrupted by COVID and we need to be in class. I am disappointed that they have taken this approach.”

The More than thank you campaign partners with protesting teachers to advocate for better working conditions.

They claim that teachers work 55-hour weeks, with one in eight teachers leaving within six years due to the pay and workload associated with the profession.

A small mob of anti-vaxxers complaining about vaccine mandates tried to hijack teachers' protest

A small mob of anti-vaxxers complaining about vaccine mandates tried to hijack teachers’ protest

Teachers marching for better working conditions avoid clashes with anti-vaxxers protest mandates as police intervene

Teachers marching for better working conditions avoid clashes with anti-vaxxers protest mandates as police intervene

The group—all dressed in white—began to handcuff the red-shirted teachers as they marched, yelling

The group—all dressed in white—began to handcuff the red-shirted teachers as they marched, yelling “shame on you.”

Anti-vaxxers yelled at protesting teachers as they marched through Sydney

Anti-vaxxers yelled at protesting teachers as they marched through Sydney

Train and bus services through Sydney and rail services to the Hunter Valley, Blue Mountains and Central Coast are also being disrupted by industrial action, with 75 percent of trains not running.

Dale Merrick, CEO of NSW TrainLink, said the refusal of nine workers to operate foreign-made trains on Tuesday had “significant consequences”.

On Monday, bus drivers domestically went on strike, with unions calling on the state government to require contractor Transit Systems to negotiate a two-tier wage system where some workers earn less than others for the same work.

That industrial action continues on Tuesday with about 300 drivers from south-west Sydney on strike, before drivers from both regions stop working for two hours on Friday afternoon.

Train and bus services across Sydney are also disrupted by industrial action, causing massive delays for commuters

Train and bus services across Sydney are also disrupted by industrial action, causing massive delays for commuters

Sydney Trains chief executive Matt Longland said the strikes were disappointing after more than 40 meetings between the union and officials

Sydney Trains chief executive Matt Longland said the strikes were disappointing after more than 40 meetings between the union and officials

Bus commuters seeking alternative transportation will be left with few options, with drivers refusing to use the foreign-made trains that operate about three-quarters of the services.

Sydney Trains CEO Matt Longland said the strikes were disappointing after more than 40 meetings between Sydney Trains, NSW TrainLink and the union, but the union says the leaders they want to negotiate with have only just come to the table.

The union wants privatization to end, safety standards to be maintained and a commitment to maintain the current level of hygiene without being dependent on contractors.

Mr Longland said workers had been offered a 2.5 percent pay increase, including pension.

Transport for NSW said Tuesday’s strikes meant services on most lines would run at a lower frequency, make additional station stops and take longer to reach their destinations.

Union wants privatization to end, safety standards enforced and a commitment to maintain current hygiene levels without relying on contractors to deliver them

Union wants privatization to end, safety standards enforced and a commitment to maintain current hygiene levels without relying on contractors to deliver them

Domestic bus drivers are on strike over a dual wage system where some workers earn less than others for the same work

Domestic bus drivers are on strike over a dual wage system where some workers earn less than others for the same work

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