NZEI Te Riu Roa primary principal and teacher members are being urgently consulted on whether their negotiating teams should return to facilitation with the Ministry of Education through the Employment Relations Authority (ERA).
The Secretary for Education, Iona Holsted, requested that NZEI and the Ministry make a joint application to the ERA, however NZEI says its members need to be consulted on such a decision and therefore the union won’t be in a position to respond to the Ministry’s request until members have had their say this week.
The Secretary then advised NZEI that the Ministry would not wait for member consultation to be completed and instead filed a memorandum with the ERA on Wednesday.
NZEI Te Riu Roa National Secretary, Paul Goulter, says he’s disappointed with the Secretary’s move and says members have a right to help make such important decisions.
“Members have made every decision in this campaign; it’s a fundamental principle of how we operate as a union. The Secretary of Education is riding roughshod over that by going directly to the Employment Relations Authority before members have had their say.”
Ms Holsted defended the move in a statement. She said: “In the light of the proposed strike, it would be wrong for me to continue to delay, and not take this action.”
Mr Goulter said: “If there’s an improved offer she wants to urgently make, I suggest she just pick up the phone.”
Meanwhile, PPTA president Jack Boyle is disappointed that the Ministry of Education rejected the PPTA’s offer to return to the negotiating table or go back to mediation.
He said: “We firmly believe that the best people to work through the issues are the experienced teachers on our negotiating team who have an intricate understanding of the issue that face the profession.
“We believe that, if the government has something new for us to discuss, the best place for that to happen is around the negotiating table.
“Formal third party intervention will not assist us at this point as solutions to our key issues; workload in particular, can only come from dialogue between those with specialised and close understanding of the sector. We remain open to return to mediation or negotiation.”