By: Simon Collins
Area schools have joined in next week’s mega-strike, which will now take out teachers at all state and integrated schools for the first time.
About 2300 teachers at the country’s 136 area schools, who have their own collective agreement, have voted overwhelmingly to join the strike planned by about 50,000 primary and secondary teachers next Wednesday, May 29.
A Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) spokeswoman said there had been no progress on setting up last-minute talks despite a PPTA offer for face-to-face talks and a Ministry of Education bid for talks facilitated by the Employment Relations Authority.
“We are full steam ahead planning for Wednesday,” she said.
The strike will now involve teachers at all NZ schools except for private, non-integrated schools which have a separate union.
NZ Educational Institute (NZEI) president Lynda Stuart said area school teachers faced the same issues as their primary and secondary counterparts.
“Teachers need more time to teach, a significant pay jolt to attract people into the profession and more support for children with additional learning needs,” she said.
PPTA president Jack Boyle said, “The issues facing area school teachers are the same as for every other teacher in New Zealand. Teachers are dealing with excessive workloads, long hours, unnecessary red tape and box ticking – and a salary that’s turning people away from the profession.”
Area school teacher Lagi Leilua is on the NZEI/PPTA negotiation team and said the ministry’s failure to put forward an offer was disrespectful to area school teachers.
“Area school teachers are suffering unsustainable workloads and we need pay and conditions that will keep and attract people into the profession,” she said.
“We will be joining our primary and secondary colleagues on strike and in the streets on 29 May because we share the same issues and face the same challenges.”
Most area schools are in rural areas or are kura kaupapa Māori or wharekura.
Joint strike marches and rallies are being held nationwide. Details can be found at backtheteachers.co.nz.
Meanwhile school students also plan to strike tomorrow, May 24, to press for Government action on climate change. They will dress in pyjamas to argue that ministers are “asleep at the wheel”.
Source: NZ Herald