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Rolling strikes to start November 12

NZEI Te Riu Roa principal and primary members have overwhelmingly voted in favour of national rolling strikes in the week starting November 12.

The rolling strikes follow a national strike on August 15, and members’ rejection of a second offer by the Ministry in late September.

NZEI Principals’ lead negotiator Louise Green said the unprecedented level of industrial action by primary teachers and principals showed the severity of the crisis in our schools.

“We’re at crisis point for recruiting and retaining teachers in this country. 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,” she said.

Teachers’ lead negotiator Liam Rutherford said teachers and principals did not want to inconvenience their students and school communities – or lose a day’s pay.

“However, we all know what is at stake, and the importance of standing our ground on fixing the crisis in teacher recruitment and retention. Our students deserve better, and this Government can do better – their $5.5 billion surplus confirms it,” he said.

Meanwhile, NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart says that while strikes will go ahead “we have agreed to continue to try to seek a resolution.’’

To that end, she said that NZEI and the Secretary for Education have committed themselves fully to seeking an agreed settlement before November, when the strikes are due to commence.

“Tomorrow, both parties will jointly refer the collective bargaining to the Employment Relations Authority for urgent facilitation.”

Facilitation is a statutory process under which an Authority member assists the bargaining parties.

Rolling strike dates

Wider Auckland region – Monday 12, November

North Island (except Auckland and Wellington) – Tuesday, 13 November

Wider Christchurch region (including Ellesmere, Ashley, Mid-Canterbury, Malvern, Hurunui and Aronui Tomua Waitaha) – Wednesday, 14 November

South Island (except wider Christchurch) – Thursday, 15 November

Wider Wellington region – Friday, 16 November

Teachers and principals are asking for:

• Smaller classes, so our children can get more one-on-one attention
• More resources and staffing to adequately support children with additional learning needs
• A significant increase in teachers’ salaries so that they are properly valued, and as a country we can recruit and retain teachers. (16% over two years. The latest offer was 3% a year over three years)
• Time to teach, and time to lead.

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