19 Oct 2010

Ministry labels teacher strikes provocative

10:23 pm on 19 October 2010

The Ministry of Education has described teachers' strike action this week as highly provocative.

The Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) has rejected the Ministry of Education's pay offer of a 2.4% pay rise delivered over two years, plus a one-off payment of $1000, and will strike again this week.

Union members will refuse to teach Year 9 students on Wednesday and Year 11 students on Thursday.

The ministry's education workforce group manager Fiona McTavish told Morning Report it is very disappointed by the two days of industrial action, which would cause extreme disruption.

PPTA president Kate Gainsford told the programme there has been progress in negotiations but says it is the ministry that has been provocative, and it is not addressing class sizes.

Pupils 'will bear brunt'

The Secondary School Principals Association says students will bear the brunt of the breakdown of pay talks between the Government and teachers.

Secondary School Principals Association president Patrick Walsh says Year 11 students are just three weeks away from NCEA exams and can ill-afford to miss a day's school.

He says he is also disappointed that the Government's offer is not a better one, as more money is needed to deal with teacher recruitment and retention problems.

Wellington College principal Roger Moses told Nine to Noon about 80% of teachers at the school belong to the PPTA, but there will still be a number available to supervise classes for those striking.