16 Aug 2018

Striking teachers rally around the country: as it happened

11:33 am on 16 August 2018

Primary and intermediate teachers held rallies in in towns and cities across the country as thousands strike to push for a better deal from the Ministry of Education.

The teachers' strike march reaches Parliament.

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

About 29,000 primary and intermediate teachers who belong to the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) union have walked out of classrooms in the first strike for 24 years. Teachers who are not union members will not be on strike.

Look back at our blog of all the action from today's strikes:

Rallies took place in all the main centres and many regional towns from around midday.

The strike is happening because the negotiation of the collective agreements for primary and intermediate teachers and principals has stalled.

The Education Ministry and NZEI have tried mediation to break the deadlock, but without success.

The union entered negotiations with a claim that included a 16 percent pay rise over two years for primary school teachers, special education coordinators in every school, and smaller class sizes.

But the ministry offered increases ranging from 14 percent over three years for new teachers through to six percent for experienced teachers.

The ministry's offer would raise beginning teachers' pay from $47,980 to $55,030 over three years, while the salaries of the most experienced teachers would increase from $75,949 to $80,599.

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