News that the secondary teachers have rejected the Government’s pay offer means that the instability and potential disruption in the sector for teachers, students and parents is far from over, National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.
“After primary teachers overwhelmingly rejected their second pay offer last week and are now pursuing rolling regional strikes it comes as no surprise that the secondary teachers weren’t happy with their first Government offer either.
“I am at the PPTA conference in Wellington today to listen to secondary teachers’ concerns. It is clear to me that they have also not been prioritised by this Government and that it has instead chosen to spend $2.8 billion on an unsuccessful fees free policy for tertiary students.
“For teachers it is not just about pay. The Government has not provided a firm funding commitment for special education coordinators in schools - despite announcing a plan to provide them in each school.
“Smaller class sizes is another priority for many teachers which has not been prioritised by the Labour-led Government. Smaller ratios would help to lessen teachers’ workloads and provide more one on one time with students.
“And now, for both the primary and secondary pay offers, the ability for teachers to get the support of a maternity grant up front has been proposed to be changed, meaning that new parents would have to wait until they come back to work for any support. This is unacceptable and unfair to new mums and dads.
“I am concerned that there has been a lack of transparency around the offer. It is my understanding that despite requests from union organisations the Ministry of Education has not provided the breakdown of the costs of the offer.
“The Minister has failed to deliver multiple promises in education including ending school donations. The Government overpromised to a lot of New Zealanders and has chosen to prioritise other areas.
“This is extremely concerning for everyone involved and it only creates more uncertainty with the situation. The Government needs to front up now and prioritise funding for teachers in an attempt to avoid more strike action.”