Mega-strike: Parents support teachers striking, NZPTA says

Parental support for the teachers' strike is strong, says the president of the NZPTA, as long as communication between schools and parents remains open.

Jen McLean told The AM Show on Wednesday the NZPTA, which supports school Parent Teacher Associations, had canvassed its members and found support from parents was overwhelmingly in favour of the striking teachers.  

"People will be protesting with teachers today, people want to join in and support teachers," McLean told The AM Show.

She said the one concern was communication between the schools and parents to remain open, and parents wanted to know the details of the negotiations between the PPTA, NZEI and the Government.

More than 50,000 teachers - from both primary and secondary schools - walked out of the classroom on Wednesday.  

The strike closed at least half of the country's schools and has left the parents of almost 774,000 children scrambling to find other things for them to do.

The Government says it's offered $1.2 billion to the teachers and it won't back down.

However teachers say it isn't pay they're crying out for, it's support. Some teachers have even said they're ready to quit their jobs if nothing changes.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins defended the Government's stance of not increasing the offer.

He told The AM Show the Government had twice raised the offer, but the goalposts keep shifting.

"If you take the primary teacher claim, for example, while we have increased the amount of money we have offered, they have increased the claim they have on the table.  

"We have been trying to meet them and they have been moving further away from us," he told The AM Show.

Hipkins said the offer was the biggest on the table anywhere across the public sector and would equate to a $10,000 pay rise for teachers at the higher end of the pay scale.

"Those are good incomes. It puts teachers in the top 20 percent of income earners in the country. That is a sign we value teachers," he said.

McLean said not even the fact the strike was on a Wednesday had dampened support.

"I thought with the strike day being in the middle of the week there would be some disappointment here, but I just haven't had that from our community.

"I can just see frustration with the Government; that is where it sits now; there is just strong support for the teachers. I can't see that support wavering, it is just so strong."




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