Thousands of teachers from public and Catholic schools have converged on Sydney's CBD and other locations around NSW in a historic strike over pay and conditions.
The groups gathered at Hyde Park before walking to State Parliament, chanting and singing about working conditions being unsafe and that they are acting as babysitters when they have to combine classes.
The NSW Teachers FederationNSW Teachers Federation has described the government's offer of a 3 per cent pay increase, which was included in the state budget last week as an insult that falls below inflation.
This is the third lot of industrial action taken by teachers in the last seven months.
The union said there were almost 2,000 staff vacancies across the state, with more than half of them in regional areas, and that the problem wouldn't be fixed until the state government offers more attractive salaries.
They're going to have to do a major reset of salaries to address the workload issues and they're going to lose teachers as well, according to spokesman Stephen Kelly.
The NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell accused the union of politicising negotiations over teachers' pay and conditions.
Ms Mitchell said the NSW government's pay offer was the most generous in the country.
I am disappointed with the action today, it really does make it very hard for thousands of families and students and it's frustrating that they are continuing to push down this cause rather than trying to negotiate with us and try and reach a good outcome, Ms Mitchell said.
We've got the most generous pay increase on the table of anywhere in the country, but other states aren't seeing this kind of industrial action. More than a thousand people attended a rally in Wollongong this morning as public school and Catholic school teachers from the Shoalhaven and Illawarra took part in the joint industrial action.
Keira High School teacher Sally Saunders said teachers should be paid what they're worth. "We are putting in so many hours outside normal school hours," Saunders said.
We want to be paid in line with inflation because anything less than that is a pay cut. In Wagga Wagga, southern NSW, teachers and their supporters marched one kilometre through the town's centre, making it the largest teacher strike since 1993 in Wagga.
Cath Parker, Adelong's teacher of 30 years, said the workload has increased unreasonably.
There is a lot of overwork and burn out of teachers who are expected to do a lot more than teach children, according to Ms Parker.
It seems to be a lot of unnecessary paperwork and it is undermining education.
The teaching profession is under stress, and people need to understand that.