By: Melissa Nightingale

Secondary school teachers from around the country are being advised to reject the latest pay offer from the Ministry of Education.

The Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) earlier called for an immediate 15 per cent pay rise worth $242 million for the country’s 25,765 secondary teachers, as well as a $100 per week housing allowance for Auckland, Tauranga and Queenstown.

Secondary teachers from around the country are meeting this morning at the PPTA’s annual conference to discuss the recommendation they reject the Government’s offer for their collective agreement.

After thorough analysis and taking into account feedback from members, the executive of the PPTA are recommending conference delegates reject the offer. Delegates will decide whether to reject the offer, or to accept it and take it out to members for ratification.

“This offer doesn’t come anywhere near addressing the teacher shortages we are facing. We cannot countenance putting generations of young people’s learning at risk because there are not enough teachers to staff schools,” PPTA president Jack Boyle said in an earlier statement.

At the conference today, Boyle said the annual meeting was the biggest decision-making body in the organisation.

He said the PPTA was proud it had improved terms and conditions for teachers and resisted attempts to undermine the collective.

“Last year we collectively called on the Government to correct the damage caused by a decade of neglect.”

The teacher shortage had “undoubtedly worsened” since then, and children were “missing out on one-to-one time they’re needing with us”.

“Children are missing out on the best possible education that should be a right in this country.

“We have a Labour-Greens-New Zealand First coalition Government, we’re in negotiations with them [for] agreed terms and conditions that will once again make teaching the desirable, critical profession that it once was.”

Boyle said they would not stop until teaching was respected and supported “as it should be”.

The PPTA will hold paid union meetings around the country beginning November 7.

Yesterday the primary teachers’ union, the NZEI, recommended rolling regional strikes in November after rejecting their latest pay offer.

President Lynda Stuart said the union’s national executive had decided to recommend rolling one-day strikes in the week between November 12 and 16, starting in Auckland on the Monday and ending in Wellington on the Friday.

Members will vote from October 16-25.

The union is seeking a 16 per cent pay increase over two years plus more staffing, including for special-needs co-ordinators and reducing the staff/student ratio in Years 4 to 8 from 1:29 to 1:25.

The Ministry of Education has offered a revised 9.3 per cent pay rise over three years. It has not offered any significant change on staffing. But Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin has issued a draft plan, which is still subject to funding, to put special-needs co-ordinators into all schools.

The new proposed industrial action follows a one-day strike in August.

Source: NZ Herald


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