National’s spokesperson for Education Nikki Kaye is concerned for students and parents potentially facing continued strikes in 2019 as the Government has yet again failed to reach an agreement with primary teachers.

“The news today by NZEI that teachers have overwhelmingly rejected the latest Government offers means that there is a high likelihood of strikes in the coming months and disruption has teachers try to get the Government to listen to their concerns.

“Last year marked the first primary teachers strikes in 24 years. This would be the third strike to take place after prolonged negotiations that started 11 months ago.

“NZEI has signalled ‘significant disruption’. We note that NZEI is looking at paid union meetings, partial strike action by working to rule and a day of strike.

“The PPTA has also previously confirmed that it has rejected the Government’s third offer and is also likely to be heading towards strikes unless it can come to an agreement. It cancelled its strike because of the terrorist attack. Both the primary and secondary education sectors have raised a number of issues including recruitment and retention issues.

“We have said before that Labour has taken teachers for granted and favoured tertiary students by using huge amounts of education cash on a failed fees free policy.

“National has been travelling the country and listening to teachers concerns as part of the consultation on Tomorrow’s Schools. People are concerned that the proposals could cost potentially millions and that the larger priority is teacher pay and addressing additional learning support issues.

“The Government needs to find a circuit breaker to break the stand-off. It appears that there will be no agreement if the Government doesn’t either shift on additional learning needs, workload and recruitment issues.”

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