Primary school teachers accept, principals reject Government's latest offer

Primary school teachers have voted overwhelmingly to accept the Government's latest pay offer, but principals have rejected it.

A statement from NZEI said principals will reject the offer, as the Government did not offer primary principals pay parity with secondary school principals.

The Ministry of Education says the rejection is disappointing.

"We're disappointed primary principals have rejected the substantial offer made to them," said secretary of education Iona Holsted.

"Pay parity between primary and secondary principals is a much more complex issue than it is between teachers. Under the Accord we have already agreed to discuss the extent to which pay parity might be applied to principals."

The newest Government offer, which covers primary, secondary and area teachers and primary principals, is worth more than $1.4 billion.

It will increase pay for primary teachers by 3 percent over three years, lifting their base salary by $14,500 and creating a new top step of $90,000.

It will also restore pay parity for primary and secondary teachers. 

"The new pay scale will see our teachers receive immediate pay increases of between $2,000 and $4,000 effective from the 1st of July," said NZEI principal Lynda Stuart on Wednesday.

"And by 2021 their pay will have increased by a minimum of 18.5 percent."

However, primary principals will not be given pay parity with their secondary school counterparts.

Their part of the $1.4 billion government package is worth $64 million over three years.

"Principals have strongly voted to reject the new agreement. The offer to our principals was largely the same as the one they rejected earlier in the year," said Stuart.

"That clearly isn't fair so they have voted to fight on for a better offer," she continued.

Stuart says the union is "urgently seeking a return to the negotiating table," in order to work out an agreement for primary principals' issues.

Workload and learning support were not addressed in the offer, but it promised this would be addressed separately.

There will be a three-month delay in the new terms and conditions of the agreement for teacher who are not members of NZEI. 

Teachers who were members of NZEI on June 13 will receive a one-off pro rata payment of $1500.

The offer came after primary and secondary school teachers took part is a "mega-strike" that saw 50,000 teachers protesting on the streets.