It is disappointing that primary teachers and principals have decided so early in negotiations to go on strike, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.

“I think that bargaining in good faith does mean you have to sit around the table and you have to make an effort to find a middle ground, and that certainly what I would encourage the NZEI to do,” he said. “I’d like to encourage them to continue bargaining with the ministry.”

The teachers union, NZEI Te Riu Roa, said yesterday that members would stop work for at least three hours on August 5 after the Ministry of Education refused their pay demands.

NZEI lead negotiator Liam Rutherford said the strike from 1.30pm to 4.30pm could be extended to a full day.

The ministry had offered most teachers between 2.2 and 2.6 per cent a year for three years.

The union was seeking 16 per cent.

Ministry of Education deputy secretary of early learning and student achievement Ellen MacGregor-Reid said she was disappointed the offer had been rejected while negotiations were ongoing.

“Trained teachers’ base salaries [would] increase between 6.1 to 14.7 per cent over three years, which would see the beginner teacher rate increase to $50,280 a year, rising to $55,030 in 2020,” she said.

“Increases for principals of between 6-11 per cent would see the starting base remuneration for a principal at a school of 50 or fewer students increase to $92,873 in 2020.”

The strike would be the first time teachers have taken industrial action since 1994.

Source: NZ Herald

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