Teach­ers re­ject Govt pay of­fer

Te Awamutu Courier - - News -

Pri­mary and in­ter­me­di­ate teach­ers and prin­ci­pals have “over­whelm­ingly” re­jected the Gov­ern­ment’s lat­est pay of­fer, say­ing it will not fix the in­dus­try’s staffing “cri­sis”.

About 30,000 New Zealand Ed­u­ca­tional In­sti­tute Te Riu Roa (NZEI) union mem­bers voted on what was the third round of of­fers, in a se­cret on­line bal­lot that closed on Tues­day night.

NZEI pres­i­dent Lynda Stu­art said the mes­sage from mem­bers was that the of­fers did not do enough to fix the cri­sis in teacher re­cruit­ment and re­ten­tion.

“The big con­cern for mem­bers was that the of­fers had noth­ing that would give teach­ers more time to teach or prin­ci­pals time to lead.”

The move comes af­ter mem­bers re­jected two pre­vi­ous of­fers, and be­gan strike ac­tion.

“From the be­gin­ning of this process we’ve been clear that to at­tract and re­tain teach­ers we need to be paid fairly and have the time and sup­port to en­sure ev­ery child gets the best pos­si­ble ed­u­ca­tion,” Lynda said.

“While the lat­est of­fer for teach­ers in­cluded a to­tal salary in­crease of ap­prox­i­mately $9500-$11,000 over three years, it failed to ad­dress the im­por­tant is­sues of time and class size, which un­der­pin the cri­sis in ed­u­ca­tion.

“Dis­ap­point­ingly, we end this year with­out the nec­es­sary move­ment from the Gov­ern­ment, and with still not enough to meet the needs of chil­dren, schools and teach­ers.”

Lynda said the union had in­formed the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Chris Hip­kins of the out­come of the bal­lots, and would seek fur­ther ne­go­ti­a­tions im­me­di­ately, re­quest­ing a new of­fer by early in term 1 next year to bring back to mem­bers.

The min­istry’s ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary, Iona Hol­sted, said de­spite the re­jec­tion they re­mained com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing bar­gain­ing in good faith and min­imis­ing any fur­ther dis­rup­tion for stu­dents’ learn­ing and par­ents.

“It is only by ne­go­ti­a­tion we will set­tle this long-run­ning dis­pute,” she said.

“We now in­vite NZEI to re­turn to the bar­gain­ing ta­ble to dis­cuss op­tions for set­tling the col­lec­tive to meet their mem­bers’ pri­or­i­ties within the $698 mil­lion pack­age.”

Iona said the $698m pack­age, which fol­lowed bar­gain­ing in Novem­ber, had been de­scribed by the Em­ploy­ment Re­la­tions Author­ity as “hand­some and com­pet­i­tive”.

Iona said the Gov­ern­ment was ad­dress­ing work­load con­cerns by spend­ing an ex­tra $500m for learn­ing sup­port, pro­vid­ing $40m to boost teacher sup­ply in the short to medium term, de­vel­op­ing a long-term Ed­u­ca­tion Work­force strat­egy, work to re­duce ad­min­is­tra­tion tasks, and rolling out a Well-be­ing Frame­work.

Te Awa­mutu’s Pop ‘n’ Good Bike Park open­ing party hosted by Waipa¯ District Coun­cil in March this year is up for an award.

The com­mu­nity event has been named one of six fi­nal­ists in the Best Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment event in the New Zealand Event As­so­ci­a­tion awards.

It is up against Hutt City’s Car­ni­val of Lights, the Light up Bike Spec­ta­cle in Wha¯nganui, Paint the Town Ed in Dunedin, Sort It Ca­reers Expo in Manawatu¯ and Snow in the Park in Auck­land.

The open­ing party in Te Awa­mutu at­tracted thou­sands of peo­ple, in­clud­ing 1000 young chil­dren on bikes cel­e­brat­ing the open­ing of the much-an­tic­i­pated park. Waipa¯ District Coun­cil staff or­gan­ised the event and also sup­ported it with close to 30 volunteers.

The event or­gan­i­sa­tion was led by coun­cil’s event and mar­ket­ing ad­viser Am­ber Diprose.

Win­ners in the New Zealand Event As­so­ci­a­tion awards will be an­nounced in March next year.

Photo / Sup­plied

Te Awa­mutu’s Pop ‘n’ Good Bike Park open­ing party at­tracted thou­sands of peo­ple, in­clud­ing 1000 young chil­dren on bikes cel­e­brat­ing the open­ing of the much-an­tic­i­pated park.

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