14 Jun 2019

Teachers' latest pay offer: Dismay still prevalent amid celebration

7:53 pm on 14 June 2019

The government's pay offer to teachers today has been receiving mixed reactions.

Striking teachers and supporters in Napier.

Striking teachers and supporters in Napier. Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

The teachers' unions, PPTA and NZEI, will recommend their members accept the new deal, which includes a one-off $271 million boost to create a unified base salary scale for primary, secondary, and area school teachers.

Napier high school teacher Bevan King said while the deal was a step in the right direction, the government's slow-footed response had been disappointing.

"To be honest, I'm one of those people that hate the whole bargaining strategy. I think you should be upfront and it shouldn't be who can play hardball the best," Mr King said.

"But it's a shame we have to go on strike to even get to this point and it's a shame kids have to be rostered home to get to this point."

Mr King said the news was welcomed by staff at his school and included a dance for joy after the announcement of appraisal being removed from their contracts.

However, he felt not all groups of staff were being looked after under the salary increase.

"Fifty percent of our teachers under five years of teaching are leaving the profession and it literally does nothing to target them. I mean, they are basically going to be getting inflation," Mr King said.

"What we are going to say is that if I'm on top of the scale I'm okay with that, and I'm basically going to throw my younger colleagues under the bus so I can get a decent pay raise, which I'm very uncomfortable with."

Christchurch teacher Thomas Newton also agreed that it had taken a long time to get to this point.

"It's disappointing that we had to go through such a large strike day and through such industrial manners to get the government to be a bit more honest with us."

Another teacher from Nelson, who is leaving the industry because of the stress, said the deal did not offer enough consideration for workload issues.

"Teachers don't teach because they want a massive income, they teach because they're passionate about what they're doing. I personally find the workload is kind of becoming untenable," teacher Jacquie Bowen said.

She said she was surprised by how much the government moved, but teachers' main worry was still about the workload.

The National Party has welcomed the new employment deal for teachers, but was critical of the methods to reach a possible settlement.

National MP Nikki Kaye supports National MP Amy Adams as she announces she will stand for National Party leader.

National's education spokesperson Nikki Kaye. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

National's education spokesperson, Nikki Kaye, said she was pleased the government has fronted up with extra money.

"National welcomes the additional funds for teachers to totally settle ... what has been prolonged negotiations over a long period of time," Ms Kaye said.

"We think the process has been pretty shambolic but we're glad that the minister of education has come up with hundreds of millions of dollars for teachers."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs