8 Nov 2018

Revised pay offer for secondary teachers labelled as 'laughable'

10:41 am on 8 November 2018

The revised pay offer for secondary school teachers has been called "laughable" by some teachers.

Families and children were out in force on Queen Street to support teachers on strike.

Families and children were out in force on Queen Street to support teachers on strike in August 2018. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

About 1500 teachers turned up for a meeting yesterday to discuss the new offer from the government over pay and conditions, which would increase most teachers' pay by 9 percent over three years.

The Post Primary Teachers' Association has suggested teachers reject the offer, which it said was largely unchanged from another offer in September that teachers also rejected.

The union's president, Jack Boyle, said the offer was a "shuffling of the deck chairs" that was last minute, half-hearted and irresponsible.

Teachers are seeking better pay, better staffing, cuts to unnecessary administrative red tape, and upped allowances to create better conditions in the classroom.

A Physical Education teacher at One Tree Hill College, Andrew Maea-Brown, is unimpressed by the offer.

"It's laughable, but that's why we're here as a collective to combine our power together," he said.

"No-one came here looking to strike but if that's what it takes to get someone to listen then that's what will happen."

He is also unimpressed that overseas teachers are being lauded as a solution to try and fill the gaps.

"That just takes a whole lot of time and energy and money to upskill a lot of those who have come from overseas," Mr Maea-Brown said.

For Arihana Hakiwai, a first year Māori teacher at Mangere College, living in Auckland on a teacher's wage was not enough.

"I live in Whenuapai which is in the North Shore and I work at Mangere College at the other end [of the city]," she said.

"I'm lucky that at the moment. I'm staying on an airforce base so it's cheaper but next year I have to move out, so I'm not sure if I'll make enough to live in Auckland."

A rolling series of paid union meetings will continue across the country over two weeks.

The teachers will vote on whether to accept or reject the offer.

If it is rejected, teachers will look to strike in the first school term of 2019.

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