27 Jun 2019

Principals eye non-cooperation as leverage over ministry in pay talks

5:23 am on 27 June 2019

Primary and intermediate school principals are discussing refusing to cooperate with the Education Ministry as a tactic to apply pressure over their stalled pay talks.

An empty primary school classroom.

Photo: 123rf

Members of the Educational Institute voted against a pay deal because they said it did not give them the same pay as secondary principals and left some principals earning less than some senior teachers - particularly those who lead smaller schools.

The deal would have given them pay rises of between 9 percent and more than 13 percent over three years.

The decision comes after more than a year of bargaining that had included three strikes in combination with primary school teachers - though teachers have now voted to accept their offer.

Principals have elected to fight on, and Pat Newman from Te Tai Tokerau Principals' Association said they were talking about ways of putting pressure on the ministry.

"We're not going to submit anything for [the Education Review Office], that's the one that's just come across my desk now as a suggestion. All the ministry July-returns that they rely upon, they can take them and shove them.

"There are heaps of other ways that we can actually affect the ministry."

Maryann Roberts from the Whanganui Primary Principals' Association said disengaging from central agencies like the ministry could have a big impact and would show just how important principals were.

Christchurch principal Denise Torrey said the offer to principals did nothing to mitigate the problems they were facing.

"I thought the offer to principals was pathetic, it didn't address any of the issues that we have raised continually with the government over the last few year.

She said the it showed the government has not been listening to them.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said principals have turned down a good deal and he was disappointed.

He said the government was happy to reconfigure its offer, but it would have to stay within its current value of $64 million over three years.

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