As primary and secondary teachers prepare to strike on the eve of the Budget, Nikki Kaye says the Prime Minister and Finance Minister need to assist the Minister of Education by enabling greater flexibility in their bargaining parameters, so the situation can be resolved.
“Mr Hipkins has overseen gridlock in collective bargaining for over 12 months with primary teachers and more than eight months with secondary teachers.
“The PPTA has authorised ‘other’ industrial action commencing May 29th which would see more disruption or strikes if this is not resolved. This would see some parents having multiple days disruption over 5 week periods.
“With the first primary strikes in 24 years, multiple failed offers and hundreds and thousands of hours of teaching and learning lost. Teachers, students and parents need this to be resolved.”
Kaye predicts the Budget will see funding go towards free counsellors for under 25s, adding some of their promised learning support coordinators and providing Ongoing Resourcing Scheme funding for children with complex needs.
She says these initiatives, while welcome, would unlikely resolve some of the core issues in collective bargaining around pay and teacher workload.
“If the Government can’t resolve the dispute then on the eve of the Budget we will have the largest ever industrial action by New Zealand teachers, covering almost 50,000 members across the two unions, and strike action looks set to continue. Teachers, students and parents deserve to have this resolved.”