Primary school teachers on strike again today

Published: Mon 12 Nov 2018 09:48 AM
Katie Scotcher, Reporter
More than 100,000 primary school students in Auckland will be home from school today as teachers and principals walk off the job for the second time this year.
Teachers striking in Ponsonby say the ministry's offer is 'too little too late'. Photo: RNZ / Katie Scotcher
It's the start of a week of rolling one-day strikes around the country, after the collapse of contract negotiations last Thursday.
Several rallies are being held across the city this morning, leading to more than 100,000 students missing school today.
The Ministry of Education last week offered $129 million more, taking the pay offer to almost $700-million over four years, but it was turned down.
The Employment Relations Authority has called the union's claim totally unrealistic and the Education Minister, Chris Hipkins, says there won't be any more money
Last-ditch negotiations last week which yielded an improved pay offer from the Ministry of Education was not enough to avert the industrial action, which follows a national strike in August, and the rejection of a second offer last month.
At the corner of Ponsonby Road and Great North Road in Central Auckland about 50 teachers have gathered, saying the government's offer is "too little, too late".
The teachers are holding signs and waving banners, reading "Our kids deserve better".
One of the striking teachers, Kim Hankins, from Newton Central Primary, said teachers' workdload was "just ridiculous".
"I would estimate half of the teachers are planning to get out of teaching. The offer is too little too late," she said.
"There aren't enough people out there wanting to be teachers. We need people wanting to come into the profession and that's not happening at the moment."
Newton Central Primary principal Riki Teteina said the offer is not going to stop teachers from heading overseas. Photo: RNZ / Katie Scotcher
The government's offer includes an increase to most teachers' pay by 9 percent over three years, a new top of the pay scale from 2020, an a $500 lump sum for union members only.
Newton Central Primary principal, Riki Teteina, said the government has come a long way to address teacher's concerns, there was still a way to go.
"It's still very difficult for teachers, and also we have a massive teacher shortage and none of these things are actually going to address that primary issue," he said.
"I've been involved in international education and there are thousands of New Zealand teachers who are overseas, and it's because here they felt undervalued, underpaid and overworked. This offer is not going to change that tide and that's a big concern for me."
Union members will vote on the latest offer later this month.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins said teachers' union had asked too much in the negotiation process so far.
The union had not been willing to compromise during mediation talks, and he was disappointed the strikes were going ahead.
"The Government did everything possible to avert strike action. The mediator was very clear that the NZEI's claims were unreasonable and that the Government's offer was a very very good offer.
Teachers here say the Ministry's latest offer is "too little, too late" #teacherstrike @rnz_news— Katie Scotcher (@katiescotcher) November 11, 2018
Apologies, but some of this page's content can only be viewed on the desktop version of the site.
"That's an independent mediator making that judgement."
No more money would be put on the table for teachers, but the agreement could be "reconfigured" Mr Hipkins said.
That might see more emphasis on relief time, and less emphasis on salary, for example.
But the union had taken the position that it wanted everything, and was not willing to compromise, he said.
South Auckland grandmother Nasreen Nisha will be taking her granddaughter to work today.
She works with cars and said taking her granddaughter to work was inconvenient.
"I do mostly practical work, so I'm in and out of the workshop and it will be a tough day for me."
At Sandringham's Edendale School, Elizabeth Duke, is sorted for today's strike.
She plans to work half of the day and her husband will work the other half.
Bus driver enthusiastically tooting at clusters of teachers and supporters along the route this am— Lisa Owen (@lisaowennz) November 11, 2018
Apologies, but some of this page's content can only be viewed on the desktop version of the site.
But, Ms Duke said keeping the children entertained for the day was not so easy.
"It just costs extra money. They want to do things and we've just had holidays and we've got holidays soon, so it all just adds up."
Toni Paget said she was lucky as a stay at home mum.
"It's going to be a day of amusing them, probably Cornwall Park, climbing trees, letting them be kids."
Mohit Prasad works from home. His children will be joining him today.
"I'm quite a busy person, so looking after kids at home will be quite difficult."
Teachers in central Auckland take to the streets. Photo: RNZ / Katie Scotcher
During the nationwide teachers' strike in August, more than 120,000 students in the Auckland region were off school and a similar number is expected to be home today.
Despite this, all of the parents RNZ spoke to support the strike and teachers' demands for smaller class sizes, more resources and a significant increase in salaries.
Today's strike is the first of five expected across the country this week.
The Educational Institute said its members would discuss the ministry's latest offer and vote later this month on whether to accept or reject it.
The Employment Relations Authority has slammed the teachers union's pay demands as "totally unrealistic" and is urging teachers to take the Government's offer.
New Zealand's public broadcaster, providing comprehensive NZ news and current affairs, specialist audio features and documentaries.
Radio New Zealand is a Crown entity established under the Radio New Zealand Act 1995. Radio New Zealand News are vital elements in our programming, providing impartial news and information to New Zealanders every day. Radio New Zealand (RNZ) provides listeners with exciting and independent radio programmes in accordance with the Radio New Zealand Charter.

Next in Comment

Gordon Campbell the barriers facing female politicians
By: Gordon Campbell
Britain's Trump is now its Prime Minister
Gordon Campbell on Trump’s open white nationalism
By: Gordon Campbell
20 Years of the Scoop Information Ecosystem
By: Joseph Cederwall
The Dig: Scoop’s Engaged Journalism Platform Launches
By: The Dig
Scoop Hivemind: Restoring and Protecting Biodiversity
By: HiveMind
Scoop Coverage: Biodiversity Information and Journalism
By: Scoop Full Coverage
The NZ Biodiversity Strategy Discussion Document Explained
By: Ian Llewellyn
Statement on Biodiversity is where interests could collide
By: Ian Llewellyn
Government takes action for nature
By: New Zealand Government
Better border security
By: New Zealand Government
Government seeks feedback on biodiversity strategy
New biodiversity strategy a roadmap to reversing the trend
Leadership 'lacking' in new conservation strategy
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILEWe're in BETA! Send Feedback © Scoop Media