Government's latest pay offer to primary school teachers 'misleading'

The primary school teacher's union is defending plans to press on with strike action, saying the Government's pay offer came too late.

The associate minister says some teachers have been offered an extra $20,000 per year, but the union says that claim is "misleading".

On Monday, teachers start walking out of class rooms on strike, with the union claiming the Government took too long to get a new offer on the table.

New Zealand Educational Institute president, Lynda Stuart, says they legally had to put forward notices to schools about the strikes that were taking place.

"We had to do that because we have venues booked, we have people who need to travel," she says.

Education Minister, Chris Hipkins, yesterday lashed out at the decision to strike and today his associate was using big numbers to talk up the offer.

Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin said on Newshub Nation that some teachers will get a $20,000 per year increase in their pay, while the average increase is between $9,000 and $11,000.

But the union says that's misleading, claiming it would take years for anyone's pay to go up by that much and saying only a select few would end up with the bigger increases.

The $20,000 increase is to right a wrong for some of our most experienced teachers - those who have a diploma instead of degree, because that's all you needed when they trained years ago.

"They're our teachers who often mentor other teachers, so it's really important that we're able to remunerate them at a level that they really should be getting," says Ms Stuart.

These teachers are currently stuck on a $64,000 salary and if this offer is accepted they'll move to around $65,846.

In a years' time, they'll be on $68,000 - then all things going well, they can earn up to $83,000 by the end of 2022. That would be a salary increase of $19,000.

The deal would see starting teachers get more too.

Ms Stuart says the offer will be discussed at meeting being held during the strike, before teachers vote on whether they want to accept it.