By: Simon Collins
A national teachers’ strike which had been pencilled in for April 3 has been postponed because of the Christchurch mosque attacks.
The NZ Educational Institute (NZEI), representing primary teachers, has scrapped plans to hold stopwork meetings that had been due to take place this week to vote on whether to accept their latest pay offer or strike on April 3.
The union has decided instead to hold an online ballot on the issue in the week of April 1-5, meaning that any subsequent strike will now take place later than April 3.
The Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA), representing secondary teachers, also looks set to postpone their strike which had been planned for the same date.
An email sent to PPTA members last week said members had voted overwhelmingly to reject their latest pay offer from the Ministry of Education.
“We are committed to taking strike action on April 3,” the email said.
“Next week we will send you more detail about the results and responses from the survey but we wanted you to know the outcome as soon as possible.”
But PPTA president Jack Boyle, who has been in Christchurch all week visiting schools affected by the mosque attacks, said the March 15 mass shooting had forced a rethink.
“Preceding the 15th there was a course that we were on,” he said.
“At the moment, given that a large proportion of our members and schools really need to focus on ensuring that stability for the children and their community and for themselves, because everyone has been touched by it, we are not proceeding on that course.”
He said he would discuss next steps with PPTA executive members and regional leaders when he returns to Wellington tomorrow.
NZEI said next week’s nationwide paid union meetings for area school teachers have also been cancelled.
“Area school teacher members will now hold joint site meetings after school with their PPTA colleagues to discuss and vote on endorsing their claim for upcoming collective agreement negotiations,” the union said.
The Ministry of Education has offered both unions pay rises of 3 per cent a year for the next three years.
Source: NZ Herald