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Teachers' union leaders say there will be 'ongoing disruption' if mega-strike doesn't yield results

Union leaders for primary and secondary teachers say further industrial action is possible if no agreement can be reached with the Government after Wednesday's mega-strike that is set to affect 500,000 students around the country.

The nationwide strike is the largest education strike in New Zealand’s history and the first time all teachers in the compulsory schooling sector have taken strike action simultaneously.

Post Primary Teachers' Association President Jack Boyle and the primary teachers union - the New Zealand Education Institute - President Lynda Stuart appeared on TVNZ1's Q+A tonight to talk about the issue.

Host Jack Tame asked them directly "how far will you go?" with the strikes.

"We are absolutely hopeful that the Government will hear loud and clear the message from our teachers and parents and the community and we will be able to sort the issue through," Ms Stuart replied

"Further industrial action is a possibility, but I have to say that is not the place we want to go to." she said.

Mr Boyle also backed up her comments.

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    Hopes of averting the mega-strike have been dashed. Source: 1 NEWS

     "Secondary teachers given authority for strikes right the way through this term.

    "There will be ongoing disruption if we cannot break through these issues in front of us, for the next 11 years the number of kids in secondary schools is going to grow," he told Q+A.

    One of the main issues Mr Boyle says is the fact that: "Secondary teachers pay hasn’t moved since September 2017, so relative to other professions we are going backwards, relative to median wage we are going backwards."

    The Government has made an offer of $1.2 billion to teachers over four years, split $700 million for primary teachers and $500 million for secondary.

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      Chris Hipkins says they would see a "significant" pay increase. Source: 1 NEWS

      Education Minister Chris Hipkins told Q+A that "for the vast majority of teachers that amounts to a $10,000 pay increase over two years, and that is a significant pay increase."

      However, this figure will only apply to teachers on the top of the salary scale.

      "For those on the beginning step yes those pay increases are smaller but those people move up a step each year as well," Mr Hipkins says.

      Mr Hipkins says there is no more room to move on the $1.2 billion when it comes to teachers' salaries.

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        NZEI’s Lynda Stewart and PPTA’s Jack Boyle speak to Jack Tame about how far the unions will go. Source: Q+A

        Q+A is on TVNZ1 on Mondays at 9.30pm, and the episode is then available on TVNZ OnDemand and as a podcast in all the usual places. 

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          Jack Tame asked union leaders about the issue on Q+A. Source: Q+A