26 Mar 2019

Teachers call off strike after Christchurch terror attacks

3:49 pm on 26 March 2019

Secondary school teachers have cancelled next week's nationwide strike, but are not abandoning their claim for better conditions and higher pay, the Post Primary Teachers Association says.

Secondary teachers at the PPTA Hutt Valley meeting.

File photo of secondary teachers at the PPTA Hutt Valley meeting. Photo: RNZ / John Gerritsen

Union president Jack Boyle said it called off the 3 April strike so it could better support Christchurch teachers in the wake of the mosque attacks in the city.

"Really there was no other option," he said.

"They need to be given support, they don't need to be considering other things at the moment."

Mr Boyle said the PPTA would go back to its members after the April school holidays to decide the next steps in the industrial campaign. He said that would not necessarily involve a strike ballot.

"Certainly we'll be going back to our membership and saying 'hey look, this is where we're up to at negotiations at this point and what else do you think we need to do'," he said.

Mr Boyle said the union was not considering abandoning its campaign and accepting the Education Ministry's most recent offer, as it had done in the wake of the Christchurch earthquakes in 2011.

"I don't think that the conditions are the same. We believe the public mood is very much in support of teachers and in fact all of the extra work that our professionals have had to undertake since Friday a week ago, that's even more demonstrative of how important teaching and teachers are," he said.

Meanwhile, the union for primary and intermediate school teachers and principals, the Educational Institute, said it would hold an online ballot next week about possible industrial action over their stalled pay talks.

The ballot replaced paid union meetings the NZEI had scheduled for last week, but cancelled after the Christchurch mosque attacks.

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