Late this evening it has been confirmed that NZEI members overwhelmingly voted to progress rolling regional strikes from Monday 12 November to Friday 16 November, National’s spokesperson for Education Nikki Kaye says.
“This is the second strike following on from the strike in mid-August. National has previously raised questions about the Government’s collective bargaining for primary and secondary teachers. Other groups in the public sector like the New Zealand Police have been offered more, and the Government created massive expectations for teachers during the election campaign that they are now failing to meet.
“It has also been confirmed this week that the Government has withheld costing information about the offer from both NZEI and the PPTA over several months.
“I understand NZEI have only recently received detailed costing information on each element of the offer. This has made it harder in my view to reach a settlement as there has been some uncertainty about the scale of what has actually been on the table.
“The Government has committed billions of dollars for tertiary students, has billions more cash in surplus so they should be able to give teachers a better offer.
“I believe there is huge public support for teachers getting more. National didn’t have the same options that Labour has but now that New Zealand has larger surpluses we have options.
“The pay and conditions in this collective bargaining will be a major lever to resolve teacher shortages. If the Government can’t improve the offer it will also be making it harder to staff schools in the future.
“I’ve raised issues in the past around the Government’s planning for the strikes. The Government must make sure it is adequately planning for the strikes to ensure that children are properly supervised. Strikes can make planning very difficult for some families who struggle to find adequate supervision for their children or get leave from work.
“It also needs to improve on the situation during the last teacher strikes, when the Ministry of Education had a lack of data about which schools were closing and which weren’t.
“As we move towards the strikes, the Government needs to improve the salary offer to teachers and ensure it includes firm commitments and a timeline around special education support. The Government also needs to also improve their support and planning ahead of the strikes to minimise disruption for students and parents.”