Primary school teachers confirm rolling strikes, mass rallies, starting next week

Primary teachers are set to begin a week of one-day rolling nationwide strikes on Monday, November 12.

A release from NZEI, New Zealand Educational Institute, today says that 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.

NZEI says the ministry made a new offer to teachers yesterday, which leaves percentage increases of 3 per cent a year over three years unchanged from the previous offer.

However, it now includes a new top step and the partial removal of a cap on qualifications for some teachers from 2020.

The release says that the offers do not address class sizes or professional time claims from NZEI Te Riu Roa.

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

Notices for other regions of the country that strike later next week will be issued today and Monday.

The Ministry of Education says their rejected offer would mean significant pay increases for their members and an offer to provide for paid meetings to discuss the offer.

A statement from the Ministry of Education on the negotiations released today reads:

"The offer we have made is worth $698 million, that’s an increase of $129 million from the previous offer.

"It means that most teachers would get between $9,500 - $11,000 extra annually in their pay packets by 2020. The offer also provides for additional progression on the pay scale.

"Our offer took into account the large investment being made by the Government into learning support, including the recent announcement of $217 million for 600 new learning support coordinator roles, which the NZEI has asked for as part of easing teacher workload and helping parents and children.

"We expected the NZEI Executive would have waited for the recommendations of the facilitator and given its members an opportunity to properly consider our new pay offer before deciding to go ahead with strikes.

"Recommendations from the Employment Relations Authority will be available by the end of today.

"Settling pay negotiations with the NZEI is important and we have done all we can to reach agreement. We know strike action is disruptive for children’s learning and for parents.

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The decision for week-long rolling strikes will affect 450,000 primary and intermediate students. Source: Breakfast