Wellington primary teachers, principals and supporters will be gathering at Westpac Stadium at 11:00am today in support of the first strike by teachers in 24 years. The rally will be followed by a march along the concourse to Parliament for a rally starting at midday.
Around 29,000 primary teachers, principals and supporters are taking to the streets in public events around New Zealand.
Last month, teachers and principals voted for a full day strike on 15 August to send a strong message to the Government that the current collective agreement offers from the Ministry of Education would not fix the crisis in teaching.
“There needs to be better investment in education so every child can reach their potential and we have enough teachers for every class”, said NZEI Te Riu Roa lead principal negotiator Louise Green.
Green said there needs to be a substantive change in the Ministry’s offer in subsequent negotiations.
In collective agreement negotiations, principals and teachers had asked for more time to teach and lead, more support for children with additional learning needs and a pay jolt to stem the growing teacher shortage.
The Ministry of Education is offering about 86% of teachers a pay rise ranging from about 2.25 to 2.6% a year for three years, and 12 minutes extra a week of time to work individually with children or plan and assess learning.
This offer falls far short of the 16% over two years that NZEI members had identified as being necessary to address recruitment and retention issues that had grown during the term of the previous National government.
The request to fund a Special Education Needs Coordinator in every school to assist children with additional learning needs was also ignored.
Teachers have warned that they are prepared to take further industrial action to win better pay and conditions.