Primary and intermediate principals who are members of NZEI Te Riu Roa will vote on whether to increase strike action at a series of nationwide paid union meetings next week from 12 to 15 August.

The proposed strike would escalate principals’ current action, which has seen them disengage from Ministry of Education meetings and communication since 8 July, and would include a full day stoppage of work on 22 August. The strike would also extend disengagement from the Ministry until 11 October and withdraw principals’ involvement in the review of Tomorrow’s Schools.

NZEI Te Riu Roa National Executive member and principal of Berhampore School, Mark Potter, says the strike ballot follows the Ministry’s failure to revise their collective agreement offer, address principal wellbeing, and ensure pay parity between primary and secondary principals.

“Primary principals rejected the Ministry’s offer in June with a clear message: if parity between primary and secondary is fair for teachers, then surely it’s fair for principals. The job of a principal is complex, but that complexity doesn’t change with the size of our students’ shoes,” he said.

“It’s crucial we’re able to attract senior teachers into principal positions and retain them. We’ll only do that if they get more support and a fair deal.”

“We had hoped we would be voting on an improved offer at next week’s meetings. There is still time for that to happen, but absent anything last-minute from the Ministry we will be discussing increasing our action and applying more pressure.”

The paid union meetings are being held between 12 and 15 August, and will follow a nationwide day of support for principals this Friday 9 August. School staff and communities around the country are organising school gate activities and wearing green to show their ongoing support for their principals.

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