NZEI Te Riu Roa and the Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) will both ballot members next week on whether to take joint strike action on 29 May.

The Ministry of Education is keen to avoid strike action.

“A threat of strike is disruptive for everyone involved. It does not offer a solution,” says Ellen MacGregor-Reid, Deputy Secretary for Early Learning and Student Achievement.

MacGregor-Reid says the Ministry remains open to talking to the unions about how to address their time to teach and other concerns outside the pay talks.

She outlines that teachers and primary principals are being offered around $1.2 billion in pay increases and classroom release time, which is in addition to $217 million being invested in 600 Learning Support Coordinators to help teachers support children and young people with additional learning needs.

“The offers give around 24,000 teachers about $10,000 more in their pay packets within 24 months of signing up. Others will get at least 3% pay rises every year for per year for three years,” she says.

However, PPTA president Jack Boyle says the offers received from government do not address the issues the teaching profession faces.

“We wonder what it will take for the government to listen to us, acknowledge the truth, and act?”

NZEI Te Riu Roa’s president Lynda Stewart says she is disappointed the government failed to improve their offer to primary teachers and principals in negotiations earlier this week, but that the prospect of a joint strike with secondary teachers will give primary teachers and principals strength.

“We really hoped we could bring something new from the government back to members next week, but they have made it clear they aren’t willing to move on the overall cost of the package our members rejected last term. We’ll be bringing this disappointing news back to members next week and asking them whether they want to go on strike with our secondary colleagues.”

Should a decision be made for further strike action, NZEI will be invited to return to facilitated bargaining with the Employment Relations Authority and the PPTA will also be invited to begin facilitated bargaining.

Primary teacher and principal members of NZEI will vote at a series of paid union meetings from 6-10 May and secondary school members of PPTA will vote in an online ballot throughout the same period.

The outcome of both unions’ ballots will be announced early in the week of 13 May.

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