More teacher strikes planned for next month

By Mānia Clarke

More strike action is planned by primary school teachers and principals after they rejected a revised pay offer from Minister of Education Chris Hipkins.

The New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI) claims that the offer on the table does not address growing issues around workload, recruitment, retention of teachers and learning support.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins spoke at the opening day of the PPTA conference in Wellington this week where pay negotiations were high on the agenda.

Spokesperson for new teachers and students, Jordon Kaie, says it's expensive to renew a practicing certificate every two years.

“One solution can be to repay that fee every ten years,” he says.

“For teachers in Auckland that's good, so teachers have finances for development and purchasing more resources for the classroom.”

Now the government is making changes to alternative education, such as the re-categorisation of charter schools.

“Our teachers are being bombarded by workloads, teaching the many aspects of our Māori world, such as performing arts, language learning, Manu Kōrero among others,” says Kaie, “Our pool of Māori teachers is lessening, and they are being lured overseas.”

A week's rolling strike action will take place next month from the 15th to the 19th.

“Strike action will start in Auckland on the 15th, for the entire day.”

Kaie says more strikes will take place in other regions each day and will end in Wellington on the 19th.

NZEI hopes this second disruption to more than 460,000 students across the country this year will bring change to the education system.