Teachers say Govt's latest offer 'disappointing'

The ball is back in the primary teachers and principals' court, with the Ministry of Education making a new offer.

The ministry has presented two different options, "which would either see them getting pay rises sooner, or providing additional release time, on top of the pay rises offered last year", according to spokeswoman Ellen MacGregor-Reid.

"The pay offer made to primary teachers in November 2018 would have seen 19,000 teachers getting an average increase of around $10,000 after 24 months. One of the new options would introduce the additional pay step at the top of the base scale - offered in November - a full year earlier. This would mean that after 12 months, around 9,700 teachers currently on the maximum step of the base salary scale would receive an increase of nearly $7,000, up from just over $4,500 under the previous timing.

"The other option provides 10 hours of additional classroom release time, per year for three years to the majority of primary teachers, in addition to the November pay offers.

Primary teachers' union NZEI will now take the offer back for a vote, but it seems unlikely the membership will back it.

"The negotiation teams made it clear to the Ministry that the new offers are disappointing," said NZEI negotiator Tute Porter-Samuels. "They do not adequately address the urgent need for more time and more pay so that we can attract and retain great teachers."

The vote will take place in the week of March 18.

"Principal and teacher members will consider these offers very carefully. We'll be asking, are they good enough? Will they address the crisis in teacher recruitment and retention? If we vote to reject them, do we want to join with the Post-Primary Teachers' Association and strike?" said Ms Porter-Samuels.

If the deal is declined, a mega-strike with secondary school teachers could be on the cards. Secondary teachers have already signalled they'll be taking industrial action on April 3, if they don't get what they want before then.

"We've put together some new options for their members to consider, which are enhanced but within the $698 million we have to settle these collectives with," said Ms MacGregor-Reid.


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