Issues facing secondary school teachers have finally reached boiling point.
The Post-Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) has rejected the Government's latest pay offer, leaving strike action on the table.
Secondary Principals' Association president Michael Williams says it's about time.
"Principals for a long time have been talking to their retired teachers to come back in. Principals have been getting around the problems by retraining teachers themselves, getting teachers who are not specialists in a subject area to teach."
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Mr Williams says the PPTA could have pushed its demands further, and is surprised teachers' demands aren't being met. The PPTA asked for a 15 percent pay rise over one year.
"I personally don't think it was enough to address… the problems we have attracting people into the profession. I think the union was quite reasonable and conciliatory in their first claim."
He says teachers really don't want to strike.
"Strikes are always problematic for us, but that shows how desperate we are."
The Ministry of Education says it's surprised the offer was rejected when there's still bargaining time.
It is possible a "super strike" next year could see 50,000 primary and secondary school teachers band together in protest.