Primary teachers reject latest pay offer from Ministry of Education, may strike next term

Primary school teachers and principals could hold a second national strike next term after rejecting the Government's latest pay offer of three per cent a year for most of them.

A secret online ballot on the offer for NZEI members closed last night and the union says they resoundingly rejected the Government’s latest collective agreement offers.

Tracey Martin says she hopes the NZEI and Ministry of Education will get back to the negotiating table. Source: 1 NEWS

NZEI President Lynda Stuart said members had sent a clear message that the offers did not address concerns about the growing teacher shortage, time to teach and support for children with additional learning needs.

"Teachers and principals are saying that they are disappointed by the Government's failure to deliver and they are resolute in their determination,"  Mrs Stuart said.

"Now we have the ballot result, the next step is in members' hands. They are discussing this online and in conversations in their workplaces," she said.

"At the NZEI Te Riu Roa Annual Conference at the end of this week, representatives will consider the compiled feedback about potential collective action and will make a recommendation about what we do in Term 4.  If further strike action is recommended, all affected members will vote on this early next term."

Close up shot of pencils in classroom
Source: Te Karere

The revised offer rejected by primary teachers included a three-year term from the date of settlement and an increase in the base salary scale by three per cent each year.

The NZEI says it included no provisions for reducing workloads or class sizes and no committed funding for supporting children with additional learning needs, such as funding a Special Education Needs Coordinator role in each school.

The Acting Minister of Education released a Draft Disability and Learning Support Plan last week which proposed an in-school Learning Support Coordinator  role, but funding is not yet committed, NZEI said.

The revised offer rejected by primary principals included a three percent salary increase each year for principals of schools with more than 100 students.

It included increases of 4.5%+4.5%+4.4% a year for principals of schools with fewer than 100 students.

Again there were no provisions to address workload, NZEI said.

Primary teachers and principals went on strike nationwide on August 15.

It's really disappointing - Acting Education Minister Tracey Martin

Acting Education Minister Tracey Martin says the teachers' rejection of the latest offer is really disappointing.

"We understand their frustration, but it's disappointing because we really want to get back together and move forward, we want to move education forward," she told reporters at Parliament.

Ms Martin says she's "slightly surprised" by the rejection.

"I mean this offer is a larger offer than all three offers put together that were accepted by the NZEI under the previous government."

Ms Martin says she hopes the NZEI and Ministry of Education "will get back to the table and work constructively together to try and come to some arrangement".

The Government has prioritised tertiary students over teachers - Nikki Kaye, National Education spokesperson
National's Nikki Kaye says the primary teachers' rejection of a pay offer is really disappointing, but understandable. Source: 1 NEWS

National's Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says the teachers' rejection of an offer a second time is really disappointing, but understandable as the Government has prioritised tertiary students over teachers.

"The Government has put forward a $2.8 billion tertiary package, which is equivalent to giving every teacher in New Zealand a 15 per cent pay rise," Ms Kaye told reporters. 

"So it's not right that they claim they haven't got the money. They've chosen to spend it on tertiary students instead of teachers," she said. 

"So our advice to the government is they need to step things up. It's not good for parents and children's learning to have multiple strikes. This is now the second time there's been a rejection. We haven't had primary teachers strikes in 24 years."

Primary teachers have rejected a revised pay offer from the Government. Source: 1 NEWS

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