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Strike heats up as teachers deliberate

Employment Relations Authority Chief James Crichton has recommended that NZEI Te Riu Roa members accept the latest offer from the Ministry of Education, at the conclusion of four days of facilitation between the union and the Ministry.

Courtesy of Ministry of Education


The Secretary for Education Iona Holsted released the following statement:

“The Ministry of Education is encouraging primary teachers and principals to carefully consider the offer made last Thursday to reach settlement or to return to the table to negotiate within the $698m package. The offer means that most teachers would get a pay rise of between $9,500 and $11,000 extra within 24 months.

“Outside the collective bargaining discussions, the Government has been addressing workload and teacher supply issues.

“This has included the removal of National Standards in response to teachers’ claims it was a large driver of workload, and a $40 million investment to increase teacher supply to fill vacancies. More than 3,500 teachers overseas have now registered an interest with educational recruiters in returning or migrating to New Zealand.

“The recent learning support announcement which committed $217 million for 600 new learning support coordinator roles will also help ease teacher workload and support parents and children. On top of Budget 2018 funding, that brings the total new investment in learning support this year to $500 million.

“Additionally, the Education workforce strategy being developed is intended to answer: “what is it that a teacher and only a teacher needs to do?”. This is the first time that teachers have been asked to be part of a conversation about what the future workforce needs to look like in terms of executive, analytical, or other skills needed to lead and manage schools in the 21st century. This is about freeing up time for teachers to teach.

“Settling pay negotiations with the NZEI is important and we remain open to negotiating exactly how the settlement package is made up. However, as the Government has made clear, there won’t be further increases in the amount of money available to settle the claim.”

Key offer features:

All teachers will benefit from pay rises of 9.3 percent by 2020; and

All teachers have access to a higher step of either $82,992 or $85,481 depending on their qualifications by 2020; and

64 percent of all teachers (nearly 16,000) will achieve the new maximum in the next 24 months; and

All other teachers will progress annually to these new maximum rates

The attached table explains the increases to the maximum rates primary teachers will get as a result of the latest offer.

Further information on the latest offer to settle the claim can be found here

Information for parents about the strike action and supervision of children can be found here

Guidance for Boards of Trustees about the their responsibilities during a strike can be found here

FRIDAY: The Ministry’s latest offer to teachers came at the end of facilitation and left percentage increases of 3% a year over 3 years unchanged from the previous offer. However, it did include a new top step and the partial removal of a cap on qualifications for some teachers from 2020.

Primary teachers and principals are holding mass meetings next week as part of the week of rolling strike action, which will include consideration of the latest Ministry offers and the recommendation.

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

“The question is: will this address the crisis in education and the teacher shortage? What we asked for had children at the heart – for example more time to teach and smaller class sizes. This is something that our members now need to decide,” says NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart.

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.

Ms Stuart said members would carefully consider both the offer and any recommendations made by the facilitator at mass meetings being held during the strikes.

“The strike action still stands as the offer is not substantially different enough to give us the mandate to revoke the strike notice. We will give members the opportunity to consider the offer, any recommendations from the ERA, and next steps.”

“Teachers and principals do not take strike action lightly. This second strike is unprecedented for primary schools in recent years.”

The key elements of the new offer for teachers are:

* 3% +3%+3% per year over a three year term (unchanged)

* no increase in classroom release time (unchanged)

* a new top pay step for Q3+ and above teachers only from 2020

* removal of the qualifications cap on progression for Q1-Q2 from 2020

* a $500 lump sum for NZEI members only

The principals’ offer remains unchanged from the previous offer except for a commitment to additional funding to ensure a minimum of two adults during the school day in schools with under 50 students, which would mean more support for smaller schools.

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