Pri­mary teach­ers’ strikes to start on Mon­day

Rotorua Daily Post - - Nation - Si­mon Collins

Pri­mary teach­ers will go ahead with rolling re­gional strikes next week af­ter teach­ers re­jected the lat­est Govern­ment pay of­fer worth $700 mil­lion over three years.

The NZ Ed­u­ca­tional In­sti­tute (NZEI) said fa­cil­i­ta­tion un­der the Em­ploy­ment Re­la­tions Au­thor­ity ended on Thurs­day and the strike meet­ings will con­sider new of­fers from the min­istry and rec­om­men­da­tions from the fa­cil­i­ta­tor.

Strik­ing pri­mary prin­ci­pals and teach­ers will be ral­ly­ing on more than 100 street cor­ners in Auck­land at 7.30am on Mon­day, and hav­ing mass meet­ings to con­sider the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion later that day.

The min­istry made a new of­fer to teach­ers on Thurs­day, but did not move on its ear­lier of­fer to raise pay scales by 3 per cent a year for three years.

Its lat­est of­fer in­cluded a new top step and the par­tial re­moval of a cap on qual­i­fi­ca­tions for some teach­ers from 2020.

NZEI pres­i­dent Lynda Stu­art (pic­tured) said the of­fers did not ad­dress union claims for lower class sizes and more pro­fes­sional time.

“The ques­tion is: will this ad­dress the cri­sis in ed­u­ca­tion and the teacher short­age? What we asked for had chil­dren at the heart — for ex­am­ple more time to teach and smaller class sizes. This is some­thing that our mem­bers now need to de­cide,” she said.

School com­mu­ni­ties were no­ti­fied in­for­mally sev­eral weeks ago of the strike dates, but for­mal strike no­tices were is­sued late on Thurs­day night for Auck­land.

No­tices for other re­gions of the coun­try that strike later next week were to be is­sued yes­ter­day and on Mon­day.

Stu­art said mem­bers would care­fully con­sider both the of­fer and any rec­om­men­da­tions made by the fa­cil­i­ta­tor at mass meet­ings be­ing held dur­ing the strikes.

New el­e­ments of the most re­cent of­fer for teach­ers in­clude a top pay step for teach­ers with de­grees plus pro­fes­sional teach­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tions from 2020, and re­moval of the qual­i­fi­ca­tions cap on pro­gres­sion for teach­ers with­out de­grees from 2020.

Strikes will take place in Auck­land on Mon­day, the rest of the North Is­land (ex­cept Welling­ton) on Tues­day, Christchurch on Wed­nes­day, the rest of the South Is­land on Thurs­day, and Welling­ton on Fri­day.

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