Secondary school principals will vote on industrial action next week, after failing to resolve negotiations with the Government over their collective agreement.

The unions say they have not received an acceptable offer, so they are walking away from the negotiations, which began in late May.

Secondary Principals’ Council chair James Morris says, “We went into these negotiations in good faith and with the hope that, together with government, we would be able to make progress to recognise the value, workload and complexity of the principal role.”

“We are very clear that our pay needs to recognise the responsibility and accountability of our role as the leader of the school.”

SPANZ Union president Scott Haines says, “Added to this were the significant and well-deserved increases to associate principal and deputy principal pay rates that came out of the secondary teacher collective agreement settlement and the relativity issues that this has created.

“Unfortunately we consider there is no further value in continuing negotiations at this point. The government has not been able to table an offer that will be acceptable to our members.”

A 2018 NZCER national survey on secondary schools found that two-thirds of principals are working more than 60 hours a week, and more than 40% working more than 66 hours. Findings also showed that stress levels are up since 2015 and morale is declining.

Key elements of the principals’ claim

  • 15% over a two year term
  • Access to professional supervision and mentoring
  • Increase in annual leave to 6 weeks
  • Professional development fund
  • Payment of practicing certificate fees
  • Improved access to relocation grant
  • Flexibility in appointment of leadership positions to Kahui Ako/Communities of learning


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