Primary school teachers fume over latest pay talks

Primary teachers who went on strike last November remain unhappy with their latest pay talks. Photo: RNZ / John Gerritsen

Primary school teachers say government employment negotiations have been conducted in bad faith, with the Ministry of Education not prepared to shift the value of its offer.

The latest round of negotiations by the primary teachers union ended this week with the ministry offering its original package of pay rises, totalling $698 million.

The ministry says the sum could be divided in different ways - the latest offer reduces raises, but adds extra non-contact hours.

It has also offered an alternative package combining smaller pay rises with 10 extra hours time for teachers to do work outside classes each term.

Paul Goulter from the New Zealand Educational Institute, the union for primary school teachers, says that members were unhappy with the negotiations.

"We call that take it or leave it bargaining and that's absolutely not the way negotiations should be conducted. It's condescending and our members absolutely reject it," says Paul.

"It demonstrates no interest at all in settling the dispute and it completely ignores the fact that we have a staffing crisis in New Zealand's education system."

However, the ministry says its latest offer was ''handsome and competitive''.

Ellen MacGregor-Reid from the ministry says the $698m was the total amount available for bargaining, but union demands added up to $2.5 billion.

She says primary school retention rates were high, and the number of people training to be teachers has increased.

The union will vote in two weeks on whether to accept the offer, or whether to strike the same day as a secondary school teachers strike, on 3 April.


1 Comment

This is sad really..........

Posted on 11-03-2019 21:47 | By groutby think that this once respected profession has been twisted and manipulated into what we have now....there is a hint of ’desperation’ now with all levels of teaching ’joining hands’ in an attempt to blackmail us parents into submission. Well, when an online, cost effective and more efficient based teaching method is adopted here (brought on earlier by such action) then there will be a serious outcry from ex. staff, mainly brought on by themselves. Union demands 2.5 billion?...ain’t goin’ to happen mate..totally unrealistic for 9 months maximum of work per year.!.. As I said earlier..’once respected’ more....

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