27 Nov 2022

Primary and high school teacher unions reject government pay offers

5:09 pm on 27 November 2022

File image. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Unions for primary and high school teachers have rejected pay offers from the government.

Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) president Melanie Webber said while the government was offering some extra money and staffing, it was not enough to fix unmanageable workloads.

The offer included a $4000 pay increase in the first year and a $2000 increase in the second, the union said, adding that there was some provision for more staffing but no workload controls.

The PPTA national executive had decided to reject the offer.

"At the paid union meetings we will be asking members to endorse our decision and decide the next steps in our campaign for a satisfactory settlement.

"Teachers are leaving the profession because they can be paid more and have a work/life balance. Teaching is an amazing career - those lightbulb moments when you see a student has grasped a particularly tricky scientific method or created a stunning piece of art are unbelievable.

"However, the increasing demands are driving people out of the profession.

"We need rates of pay and working conditions that will keep highly skilled and experienced teachers in our secondary and area schools and attract bright young graduates into the profession."

About 20,000 teachers will attend union meetings this week during school hours to endorse the decision and discuss their next moves.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of primary and area school teachers throughout the country have voted to reject their latest offer from the Ministry of Education.

The New Zealand Education Institute Te Riu Roa said teachers and principals had been attending meetings over the past two weeks to discuss and vote on offers.

The union's president Liam Rutherford said the current pay offer did not meet the rising cost of living, nor did it bring solutions for reducing classroom ratios and getting funding for learning support.

Rutherford said teaching professionals felt the government was not recognising the impact of Covid-19 on their well-being.

The union would continue talks with the ministry, Rutherford said.