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“Thanks but no thanks”: teachers reject another Ministry offer

The PPTA has rejected a third offer from the government for the secondary teachers’ collective agreement, hard on the heels of an overwhelming rejection of the government’s second offer of settlement by secondary teachers at meetings held between 7-23 November.

The union’s representatives on the negotiating team did not believe that the latest offer was good enough to take out to members.

“Secondary schools are facing teacher shortages that are far from business as usual,” says PPTA president Jack Boyle. “The offer from the government, while an improvement on the one we received in November, faces the fundamental problem of not addressing this unfortunate reality.”

“When we met with teachers over the last few weeks, the message they gave was incredibly consistent. We need to see a reset of teachers’ terms and conditions of work to address the teacher shortages and workload challenges. This offer doesn’t do that.”

“It’s clear that the government has to come back with the resources to address the problems the sector is facing. Tweaks simply won’t do it,” said Boyle.

Ellen MacGregor-Reid, Deputy Secretary for Early Learning and Student Achievement, said:

“The Ministry and the Post Primary Teachers’ Association met last week for agreed bargaining talks.

“We put forward options to settle the pay negotiations. We also invited the PPTA to develop alternative options and they decided to decline this opportunity. PPTA have accepted our invitation for mediated bargaining, as we believe this will be a useful step for both parties. This will start on 13 December and we look forward to progressing talks.

“The Ministry is focused on settling these negotiations and on minimising any disruption for students’ learning and for their parents.”

The government’s offer to PPTA was very similar to that made to primary teachers, which was rejected yesterday by NZEI members.

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart said the message from members was that the offers still did not do enough to fix the crisis in teacher recruitment and retention.

“The big concern for members was that the offers had nothing that would give teachers more time to teach or principals time to lead.

“From the beginning of this process we’ve been clear that to attract and retain teachers we need to be paid fairly and have the time and support to ensure every child gets the best possible education.”

“While the latest offer for teachers included a total salary increase of approximately $9,500 – $11,000 over three years, it failed to address the important issues of time and class size, which underpin the crisis in education,” she said.

“Disappointingly, we end this year without the necessary movement from the Government, and with still not enough to meet the needs of children, schools and teachers.”

Iona Holsted, Secretary for Education said: “NZEI members have voted to reject the Ministry’s revised offer to settle primary principals’ and teachers’ collective agreements.”

“We now invite NZEI to return to the bargaining table to discuss options for settling the collective to meet their member’s priorities within the $698 million package.

“Following facilitated bargaining (in November), the Employment Relations Authority described the $698 million as ‘handsome and competitive’. The Authority also acknowledged the commitment of the Government to working with teachers to gradually address the sector’s needs. This includes the current activity on workload and supply.

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