Teach­ers join in strike

CHB Mail - - News -

Cen­tral Hawke’s Bay teach­ers trav­elled north to Napier last Wed­nes­day to join their col­leagues in a day of na­tional strike ac­tion.

As­mall group of CHB teach­ers as­sem­bled at the carpark of the CHB Set­tlers Mu­seum in Waipawa be­fore trav­el­ling to Napier where they joined more col­leagues from CHB and oth­ers from across the re­gion in a march from the Napier Sound­shell to Clive Square, as part of a na­tional day of in­dus­trial ac­tion or­gan­ised by the pri­mary and in­ter­me­di­ate teach­ers’ union, the NZ Ed­u­ca­tional In­sti­tute (NZEI).

Around 1000 peo­ple took part in the Napier march, on a day when more than 29,000 pri­mary teach­ers, prin­ci­pals, and their sup­port­ers took to the streets around the coun­try to cam­paign for bet­ter pay, work­ing con­di­tions and in­cen­tives to at­tract new teach­ers.

At the Napier march, signs said “Pay my­mum for the hours she ac­tu­ally does or give her back to me!” and “When you made us an of­fer did you for­get we teach maths, too?”

CHB NZEI branch pres­i­dent Sim­mone McKay, a teacher at Waipuku­rau Pri­mary, said therewere more than 100 NZEI mem­bers in CHB, and a high per­cent­age turned out for the march.

“We had a good turnout from CHB. Most CHB schools were rep­re­sented and my feel­ing is most CHB NZEI mem­bers were there. We had prin­ci­pals from CHB there aswell— I saw at least three there that I knew.”

She ac­knowl­edged the strike ac­tion, which forced schools to close for the day, had had an im­pact on par­ents, but she had a sim­ple mes­sage for them.

“It’s ac­tu­ally about the kids, schools and re­sourc­ing. We don’t want to walk out on the kids for the day, but we feel that are not be­ing lis­tened to. It’s not just about a pay rise, it’s about re­sourc­ing the schools, it’s about cater­ing for spe­cial needs chil­dren. And the pay rise is more about at­tract­ing teach­ers into the pro­fes­sion,” she said.

On­gaonga School deputy prin­ci­pal Karen Barkle, who has been in the teach­ing pro­fes­sion for 18 years, was one of those at the Napier march.

Strik­ing for the first time in her ca­reer, she said the de­ci­sion had not been made lightly.

Like many, she said she had had con­stant thoughts of leav­ing the pro­fes­sion, but the love of her job and the chil­dren had made her stay.

“It is re­ally sad to feel like that,” she said.

“It is the time and it is the stress; not that you put on your­self, it is stress that is put on you by out­side is­sues, like par­ents’ ex­pec­ta­tions and the things that kids need.”

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Waipuku­rau Pri­mary teacher Sharon Mid­dle­ton (cen­tre) and col­leagues from Flem­ing­ton School and Otane School and their fam­ily mem­bers be­fore head­ing to Napier for last Wed­nes­day’s teach­ers’ strike.

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