Teachers, principals to vote on new pay offers today

By Jessica Tyson

Primary teachers and principals begin online voting today on whether to accept the latest offers from the Ministry of Education.

The New Zealand Education Institute -Te Riu Roa (NZEI) says the offers are only slightly different from what was previously tabled in November, with the government making no change to the total amount of spending available for settlement.

NZEI principals' lead negotiator Louise Green says New Zealand is at crisis point for recruiting and retaining teachers.  Strikes were also held by school staff in November calling for change.

“I've had principal colleagues in tears with the stress of trying to ensure a teacher in every classroom.  Meanwhile, the huge workload and lack of resources for children with additional learning needs is driving teachers out of the profession," says Green.

NZEI president Lynda Stuart says there is a particular shortage of te reo Māori teachers in both kaupapa Māori and mainstream schools.

"We've got a real lack of those teachers who have got fluency in te reo, who have the ability and knowledge around tikanga, and we really need those people in our classrooms and in our schools," says Stuart.

The online ballot voting will close at 6pm on April 5, with the results to be announced next week.

THE NEW OFFERS

For primary teachers:
The ministry has given primary teachers two new offers that are largely the same as the offer members rejected in November 2018, except:

  • An extra half day of classroom release time (CRT) per term for the duration of the agreement only (in addition to their current 10 hours CRT per term).
  • Or a new maximum step for Q3+, Q4 and Q5 teachers brought in on February 27, 2020 (12 months earlier than the previous offer).

For primary principals:
The offer is the same as the offer rejected by members in November 2018, except:

  • For U1 and U2 principals in the very smallest schools, the Ministry has offered 10 hours of classroom release time per term from 2019.

OFFERS UNCHANGED FROM NOVEMBER

For primary teachers

  •  3-year term from date of settlement.
  •  Increase base salary scale by 3% each year from date of settlement.
  •  Add an additional new salary step for Q3 teachers to new max step 9 and add an additional new salary step for Q3+,Q4, Q5 teachers to new max step 10 from either February 2021 (option 1) or February 2020 (option 2).
  •  Lift the maximum salary step for Q1 teachers by 4 steps to the new max step 9 and Q2 teachers by 3 steps to the new max step 9 from February 2021.
  •  Merge the first four steps of the salary scale.
  •  A one-off gross payment of $500.

For primary principals:

  •  3-year term from date of settlement.
  •  Increase base salary scale by 4.5%+4.5%+4.4% a year from date of settlement for principals in U1 and U2 schools.
  •  Increase base salary scale by 3% each year from date of settlement for principals in U3 and above schools.
  •  Changes to how salary components are set out in the CA (that don't affect the value of salary).
  •  Additional operational funding for schools with less than 2 FTTE to employ a second person during contact time.
  •  One-off gross payment of $500.